By Juliette Jampolsky, Rome '14
Today in the world of Classics we went to the Capitoline Museum! It was packed with ancient Roman history. Pope Sixtus IV first started the museum collection in 1471 with a donation of bronze statues that have a great symbolic value to the People of Rome. We started outside the museum looking at reconstructed statues of antiquity, which now decorate the Campidoglio piazza. Michelangelo originally designed the pedestal of the gilded bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius so as to make it the center-piece of the piazza.
Many statues we saw were made of various materials from different time periods; in particular, we saw a statue of the bronze she-wolf from the Romulus and Remus myth which included Romulus and Remus themselves as an addition added hundreds of years later. The statues were built from materials that ranged from granite to marble to bronze- some of which included both. We learned that an acrolith statue of Constantine the Great was created by using different types of materials--marble for the hands and wood and bronze for the body. We also learned that many of the bronze statues from the given time period were melted down sometime in history for the value of the raw material. However, there was one enormous gold-plated bronze statue of Marcus Aurellius, an emperor famous for his philosophy and "Meditations."
The Museum also featured art pieces from the Renaissance era. Most notably, there was an entire room which highlighted Michelangelo’s works, frescos which covered the walls, and a masterpiece statue of Pope Urban VIII. As lunch soon approached we left the Capitoline Museum, off to our next adventure!