Portrait of the Ancient Roman General Scipio
Mino da Fiesole, Italian (active Florence and Rome), 1429 - 1484
Profile portraits of figures from antiquity—often based on ancient coins bearing images of Roman emperors—emerged as a popular sculptural genre in late fifteenth-century Italy. Florentine sculptors in particular made very sophisticated classicizing portrait reliefs, sometimes producing entire series for wealthy patrons. These reliefs were usually displayed as part of a collection housed in a scholar’s study. This example is an imaginary portrayal of Scipio Africanus, a general of the Roman Republic who fought in the Punic Wars between ancient Rome and the North African city of Carthage.
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