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Apr 20, 2012

Antinous and the ideal of beauty

The past exhibition running from 5 April to 4 November 2012 (Hadrian's Villa Antiquarium, Tivoli) focused on the relationship between the Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, a supremely beautiful youth he met in Bithynia. 
Sculptures, bas relief, gemstones, and coins presumably found in Hadrian’s Villa, a series of portraits depicting Hadrian and Antinous.  Works discovered in the Antinoeion, the room built in Antinous’s honour in Tivoli.
The exhibition also provided an opportunity to document the rest of the architectural complex unearthed between 2002 and 2005 during the archaeological digs.
Antinoo mysteriously drowned at in 130 AD as he was travelling upstream on the Nile.
The city of Antinopolis was founded near the site where he died, a holiday was established on the 27th of November, Antinous’s birthday.
In the following years a legend grew around the figure of Antinous: Egyptian priests began to depict him with the likeness of Osiris, the greatest divinity in ancient Egypt.

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