10 March-25 Sept 2011. The present exhibition, the second in the five-year project organised by the Capitoline Museums, I Giorni di Roma, focuses on ancient Roman portraiture with a selection of 150 heads and busts, as well as full-length statues mostly of Roman emperors.
The exhibition starts with the late Roman republican period and ends with Imperial Rome. This was a time when public portraits and statues of political officials or military commanders reminded the population of official triumphs and political achievements and when the Roman world was awash with public portraiture.
The exhibition is divided into various sections: From the Mask to the Portrait follows the evolution from the time when casts were made from living or dead personalities up to the beginnings of portraiture; Princes and Men as Gods illustrates the ways the image of the emperor was transformed into one of the divinities; The Pattern of Images provides a complete overview of the different models used; The Face of the Powerful offers a gallery of the main personalities of Roman political life; Female Hairstyles analyses how changes in fashion and taste reflect deep social transformations.
The exhibition reflects on portraiture as one of the main means of communication and political propaganda in the ancient world. Since ancient times portraits, regardless of whether pictorial, sculptural, photographic or cinematographic, have been a way for individuals to make their mark on history.