Bust of Faustina the Younger

Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Italian (Rome), 1716 - 1799



24 3/16 x 14 3/4 x 10 5/16 inches (61.4 x 37.5 x 26.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 284, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Anthony Morris Clark, 1978

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Faustina the Younger (born c. 125-130 CE) was the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This bust is a copy of an ancient Roman version, restored by Cavaceppi and in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The sculptor Cavaceppi directed a large workshop specializing in the copying and restoration of antiquities. This rare signed example was purchased to decorate Robert Adam's great neoclassical interior at Syon House outside London.

Additional information:
  • PublicationArt in Rome in the Eighteenth Century

    This portrait bust is a copy of an ancient one traditionally identified as Faustina the Younger (c. AD 125/30-175) in the Musei Capitolini, Rome (Stanza degli Imperatori 32, inv. 449). The subject was the daughter of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder and became the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The bust in Rome was presented to the Museo Capitolino in 1748 by Pope Benedict XIV. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi has been credited with restoring the ancient bust in the 1740s. The form of the modern supports--produced by Cavaceppi--with a narrow plaque above a round socle is the same on both busts.

    The Philadelphia bust probably figured among the sculpture that architect James Adam acquired in Rome in 1761-62. These purchases were packed for shipment to England by July 1762. Among the then clients of his more famous architect brother and partner Robert, was the Earl of Northumberland, the owner of Syon House, which Robert Adam was remodeling. Photographs taken around 1930 show the bust in place in the anteroom at Syon, one of Robert Adam's grandest Neoclassical interiors.

    This bust is one of the rare works bearing Cavaceppi's name. In this version, the locks of the complicated coiffure are notably well defined, and the mouth is rendered with unusual delicacy. The superior quality of the carving and the presence of the carved inscription are evidence that Cavaceppi attached exceptional importance to the commission. Howard mentioned four other busts at Syon as copies by Cavaceppi after antiquities, and his statue of Ceres in the Great Dining Room is also signed in full by the sculptor.

    Published references to the collection history of the Philadelphia bust after it left Syon have been incomplete or mistaken on one point or another. The bust was sold at auction at Sotheby's to the Heim Gallery in 1967. Anthony Morris Clark bought it in 1968 for his own collection, not, as often reported, for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where he was then director. The bust was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by the estate of Mr. Clark along with a notable collection of eighteenth-century Roman drawings and medals.

    Cavaceppi and his assistants produced a number of copies of the ancient bust of Faustina the Younger. The best-known are those acquired by English collectors, the sculptor's most enthusiastic clients. The Philadelphia bust is currently the earliest version known to have been purchased for England. The bust at Broadlands was probably acquired by Viscount Palmerston in 1764. A version formerly at Ince Blundell Hall, and now at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (Ince no. 201), could have been bought by Henry Blundell in 1777 at the earliest. The 1802 inventory after Cavaceppi's death, published by Gasparri and Ghiandoni, includes two marble Faustinas (nos. 310 and 624) and one plaster cast (no. 109). A detailed list of existing versions was published by Howard in 1972. Other copies of the bust are to be seen in Gustav III's museum of antiquities in the royal palace, Stockholm, the Yusupov Palace, St. Petersburg, and at Pavlovsk. In 1778 Johan Tobias SergeI bought in Rome a bronze copy of the bust for Gustav III. This work is probably to be identified, according to Anne-Marie Leander Touati, with a sculpture at the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (NM Sk 294). Additional examples are likely to be recognized as studies of eighteenth-century collections of antiquities progress.

    For mid-eighteenth-century collectors, the identification of the subject of the bust as a member of the Roman imperial family certainly contributed to its desirability, although Faustina was not herself an interesting historical figure. Henry Blundell described her as "the wife of Marcus Aurelius, but a woman of indifferent character" (quoted in Howard 1970, p.132, no. 12). However, aside from Faustina the Younger's historical identity, the style of the bust appealed to nascent Neoclassical taste. The oval shape of the face, its bland expression, bisque texture, and linearity (characteristics defined by Howard) were aspects of Hadrianic sculpture admired by such leading tastemakers as Cardinal Albani and Winckelmann. Howard detected the influence of the subject's facial type elsewhere in works by Cavaceppi, and M. G. Barberini recognized that this bust was Cavaceppi's source for the head on a terracotta version of the Capitoline Flora in the Museo del Palazzo di Venezia. Dean Walker, from Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century (2000), cat. 120, p. 242.

    Hussey, Christopher. English Country Houses: Mid-Georgian, 1760-1800. London: Country Life Limited, 1956.
    Fleming, John. Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh and Rome. London: John Murray 1962.
    Howard, Seymour. "Bartolomeo Cavaceppi and the Origins of Neo-Classic Sculpture." The Art Quarterly, vol. 33 (1970), pp. 128-32, n. 10-12, fig. 8.
    Howard, Seymour. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi: Eighteenth Century Restorer. New York and London: Garland, 1982.
    Picòn,Carlos A. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi: Eighteenth-Century Restorations of Ancient Marble Sculpture from English Private Collections. London: Clarendon Gallery, 1983. pp. 66-67.
    Fejfer, Jane, and Edmund Southworth. The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture. Vol. 1. London: HMSO, 1991. p. 46, n. 2.
    Gasparri, Carlo, and Olivia Ghiandoni. Lo studio Cavaceppi e le collezioni Torlonia. Vol. 16 of Rivista dell'Istituto Nazionale D'Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte. Rome: Istituto Nazionale D'Archeologica e Storia dell'Arte, 1993.
    Barberini, Maria Giulia, and Carlo Gasparri, eds. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, scultore romano (1717-1799). Rome: Palombi, 1994, p. 111, no. 25.
    Ingamells, John. A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800: Compiled from the Brinsley Ford Archive. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997.
    Leander Touati, Anne-Marie. Ancient Sculptures in the Royal Museum: The Eighteenth-Century Collection in Stockholm. Stockholm: The Swedish National Museum sand the Swedish Institute in Rome, 1998. p. 39.

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