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Tiberius: Portrait of an Emperor at the Getty Villa

Date 12.24.2013

Following a year-long conservation project, an over-life size bronze portrait of Tiberius from Herculaneum, on display at the Getty Villa, provides an occasion to assess the character and career of Rome’s second emperor. Damaged by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, this bronze statue of the Roman emperor Tiberius (ruled A.D. 14–37) was discovered in 1741, during the first years of excavation at Herculaneum. Standing over eight feet high, this monumental statue presents Tiberius with his head veiled, in his role as chief priest of ancient Rome.

The exhibition also highlights information gleaned during the study and treatment of the statue, which has been returned to an upright position after many years off display. As well as revealing the processes by which the portrait was assembled in antiquity, it has also been possible to identify the methods and means used to reassemble and restore the figure following its recovery in the eighteenth century.

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