An ambitious exhibition entitled “Moi, Auguste, Empereur de Rome” (“I, Augustus, Emperor of Rome”) opened last month at the Grand Palais in Paris. Organized by the RMN-GP and the Louvre, this exhibit honors the bi-millennium(!) of his death on August 19th in the year AD 14. He was 75 years old and had reigned 45 years.
The pieces showcased here tell the story of Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire under the leadership of Augustus. According to the Grand Palais, “A selection of statues, sculpted reliefs, frescoes, pieces of furniture and silverware, along with a reconstruction of a villa from the slopes of Vesuvius and tombs uncovered in Gaul reveal the changes in the social environment of the Romans.”
Following the death of Caesar and the subsequent civil wars, Augustus instigated policies that brought about a time of relative peace and prosperity throughout the large empire — from the city of Rome in the heart of the Italian peninsula to the provinces at the empire’s borders — which came to be known as the Pax Romana and lasted beyond his death. Augustus also physically increased the holdings of the empire, gaining new provinces. The Age of Augustus was a golden age of architecture, art, and literature — overseeing, for example, the construction of the Pantheon and the writing of Virgil’s Aeneid. (For more information on Augustus’ reign, click here.)
The consolidation of so many incredible works into one exhibit should offer a thrilling, powerful experience. If you are in Paris in the near future (the exhibit closes July 13th), this is a must see!
|A detail from the famous “cuirass” (breastplate) on the statue in the title image.|
GRAND PALAIS, GALERIES NATIONALES
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