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Prado museum Constantine bust


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This is one of my favorite busts of Constantine, and what I use as my avatar.

This depicts a young Constantine, and from style is presumably of Italian origin shortly after his victory over Maxentius. It closely matches what we see on coins from the Italian mints at this date of c.313 AD. I like to think of this as Constantine the general, as opposed to his later in life Constantine the flamboyant eastern Lord.


They've just added a virtual 3-D walkthough to the Prado museum website, so I was interested to see if I could find the statue there, but as it turns out it's not currently on display, although they do have a half dozen photos of it, including profile and rear (hollowed out) views which I hadn't seen before.

In this profile view, it's noticeable how recessed his eyes are relative to the bridge of the nose. It also seems that his contemporary nickname of "Trachala" (thick/bull-necked) might better have been changed to a Monty Pythonesque "big nose".

Edited by Heliodromus
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A lovely work of ancient art in the Prado. Here's one where he appears more bull-necked!

Constantine I MARTI PATRI CONSERVATORI follis Trier.jpg
Constantine I, AD 307-337.
Roman billon follis, 6.38 g, 25.3 mm, 1 h.
Trier, Autumn 307-end 308.
Obv: IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust, right, seen from rear.
Rev: MARTI PATRI CONSERVATORI, Mars standing right, holding inverted spear and resting hand on grounded shield, S|A//PTR.
Refs: RIC vi, p. 217, 774; Cohen 359; RCV 16002.

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