Fig. 1. Marcus Meijers, Herm bust of Marcello Venuti, 1730, terracotta, 49,2×32,2 cm, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan & Tim Knox Collection, London, Malplaquet House.


Fig. 2. The signature on the side of the Herm bust of Marcello Venuti.


Fig. 3. Marcus Meijers, Bronze Medal of Marcus Tuscher, ∅ 65,4 mm, Cortona, Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca.


Fig. 4. Jean-Antoine Houdon, Herm bust of Rousseau, 1778-80, bronze, H. 45 cm, Paris, musée du Louvre.


Fig. 5. Christopher Hewetson, Herm bust of Gavin Hamilton, 1783 ca., marble, H. 55,8 cm, Glasgow, The Hunterian Museum.


Fig. 6. Agostino Penna, Herm of Antisthenes, Rome, Biblioteca di Palazzo Venezia, Ms. Lanciani 138.


Fig. 7. Giovanni Volpato factory, Double herm bust of José Nicola de Azara and Anton Raphaël Mengs, 1785 ca., biscuit, 28,1x14x17 cm, Bergamo, Pinacoteca dell’Accademia Carrara.


Fig. 8. Double herm bust of Epicurus and Metrodoros, early 2nd century A. D., marble, 60 cm high, Rome, Musei Capitolini, Gallery of Philosophers.


Fig. 9. Antoine Chaudet, Cenotaph with a seated woman grasping the portrait of her husband, 1795, marble, 87,5x36x45,8 cm, Paris, musée des Arts décoratifs.


Fig. 10. Filippo Tagliolini, Little bust of Archidamos III, king of Sparta, 1785-1806, biscuit, 18 cm high, Naples, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte.


Fig. 11. John Flaxman, Herm bust of Henry Philip Hope, 1802-1803, marble, 54,2 cm high, Copenhagen, Thorvaldsens Museum.


Fig. 12. Antoine Chaudet, Herm bust of Napoleon I, 1804, marble, Rueil-Malmason, Musée national du château.


Fig. 13. Jeanne-Élisabeth Chaudet-Husson, Portrait of Laetitia Murat, 1806, oil on canvas, 116,5×89 cm, Fontainebleau, Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau.


Fig. 14. Jean-Antoine Houdon, Herm bust of Napoleon I, 1806, terracotta, 52,5×27,7×20,5 cm, Dijon, musée des Beaux-arts.


Fig. 15. Augustus Bevilacqua, early Ist century A. D., marble, 50,5 cm high, Munich, Glyptothek.

The difficult rebirth of the herm bust

Daniela Gallo

It was supposedly during the excavations of the ruins of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli that the architect Fra Giocondo da Verona conducted around 1488, that the first ancient herm portraits were found again[*]. Often broken, as they had been re-used as building material, these herms retained the names of famous men from Greek Antiquity, to which they had been dedicated, thus stirring the interest of antiquarians. During the realization of Pope Julius III’s Villa a little beyond Porta del Popolo – the construction of which began in 1551 under Vignola’s supervision, after an overall design by Vasari -, a certain number of herms were taken away to be reinstalled in the pathways of the garden. Recovering in that way a new decorative function, all of the headless herms received at that time new heads. At the time of Julius III’s death, in 1555, Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici inherited most of them, for the new Pope, Pius IV, put the northern part of the Villa Giulia estate at the disposal of Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his family. Upon Cardinal Giovanni’s premature death in 1562, his Roman belongings were transferred to his younger brother, Cardinal Ferdinando, who, at the beginning of 1576, bought Cardinal Ricci da Montepulciano’s Villa on the Pincio and had the collection of herms – which had become a Medici collection – carried from Villa Giulia. The herms which had remained in other parts of the gardens of Pope Julius III’s Villa ended up in other Roman collections, such as Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi’s[1]. Pius IV also picked up several items for the gorgeous setting of his Amphiteatro Vaticano, the gallery of illustrious men and women that the Neapolitan architect Pirro Ligorio staged in the hemicycle of the courtyard of the Belvedere in 1564-1565[2].

In the same way, in the thirty or so years following 1550, Ligorio set about drawing all the herm portraits that had been found either in Tivoli or in Rome and its surroundings, and along ancient consulary lines of communications, as far as Campania, at Cumae or Pozzuoli, for his illustrated and annotated encyclopaedia, the Antichità di Roma, which unfortunately never appeared in print[3]. This middle of the 16th century was indeed a time for catalogues, compilations and classifications[4]. What then could be more interesting than bringing together the known images of the famous men of Antiquity in order to try to piece together the history of this Graeco-Roman past? While Ligorio did not perfectly realize his huge entreprise, others, less ambitious, such as Achilles Statius (Achille Estaco) or Fulvio Orsini, never ended putting together illustrated albums of antique portraits, in which the lion’s share were the herm exemplaries, displaying the inscribed names of these famous philosophers, poets and orators[5]. Orsini’s volume, for instance, first published in 1570, was republished and enlarged twice, in 1598 and 1606[6].

A joy for both scholars and collectors of antiquities, these herm portraits nevertheless did not stir any interest among contemporary sculptors. The reverse of a bronze medal showing Erasmus, made by Quentin Metsys in 1519 and representing the god Terminus is one of the rare examples  – and doubtless the earliest one – of this formula of reuse in the Renaissance[7]. The prevailing model for all’antica busts sculpted in the round still remained the portrait of emperors on a socle, with a rounded cut, showing the upper part of the arms, and with the chest covered with a tight-fitting cuirass and/or the paludamentum worn by imperatores. In his manuscripts, Ligorio gives us interesting testimonies on the Roman habit of transforming herms of philosophers into busts of emperors so as to satisfy the insistent requests of collectors striving after complete series[8]. It was not until the 18th century, and especially in the last quarter of it, that the herm bust appeared to exert strong influence over the European artistic avant-garde. Reused in the decoration of libraries in Renaissance palaces or important villas in the second half of the 16th century, or in the studii of some learned collector such as the aforementioned Fulvio Orsini, in Palazzo Farnese; and reproduced in albums dealing with antiquaria, ancient herm busts had eventually been assimilated to studium. While late Renaissance humanists and 17th century scholars largely chose to be portrayed in paintings or in prints, their sculpted effigies, much rarer, were confined to the genre of the medal, or restricted to funerary monuments, nor for which tombs was the type of the herm bust chosen. On the other hand, during its revival from the end of the Ancien Régime onwards, sculpted portraits in herm shape reached a wide range of circles, nor did not exclude the fair sex. It is obvious therefore that when pondering the reasons which triggered the rebirth of this type of works, I will not just try to bring clarification to the history of the evolution of forms. Starting from a set of themes linked to the fortuna dell’antico I will try to understand better a piece of the history of taste and of European society at the turn of the 18th century.


Florentine experimentations

It was in Florence in 1730 that the work we can consider as the first herm bust of the modern era was made (fig. 1). This white-painted terracotta 49,2 cm high and 32,2 large was modelled by a Netherlandish architect and sculptor, Marcus Meijers, whose name is inscribed on the left handside of the herm (fig. 2). Like in ancient types, the name of the sitter, with his ancestry and origin, is engraved on the front:



The son of a knight from Cortona, named Giuseppe, the nephew of Domenico Girolamo – a fiscal auditor for the Grand Duke of Tuscany -, and the brother of Ridolfino, Giovan Battista and Filippo, Marcello Venuti had been in 1727 one of the founders of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona[10]. Upon their uncle’s death, on November, 28th 1729, the young Venutis had inherited his goods. And on the following 15th of July, the very year when this portrait was executed, Marcello inherited the birthright which his brother Ridolfino had received from Domenico Girolamo, thus becoming in due form the head of the family, their own father having died in 1708[11].

This bust may very well have been realized at the close of such events, all the more so that, on August 9th, Marcello celebrated his thirtieth birthday[12]. Admittedly a considerable boldness was required to give up the wig and long hair, as well as all sorts of elements pertaining to his social status, when becoming the head of a lineage. But others had already ventured to break these proprieties. You will remember that in Rome, three years before, the eccentric Baron Philipp von Stosch had taken off his wig and garments in order to display the attractions of his bare chest, like a new emperor, in a marble all’antica bust sculpted by Bouchardon[13]. And in the two following years, according to the baronissimo’s advice[14], two young milordi of the Grand Tour, John Gordon of Invergordon and John, Lord Hervey, had followed suit, the antique formula  becoming for them too the dreamed occasion to flaunt their homo-eroticism[15]. By choosing the abstraction of the herm and this impressive frontality, Marcello Venuti obviously wanted to evoke a totally different universe. In a strong position because of the high regard that the most esteemed Florentine scholars of this period felt towards him – among them Senator Filippo Buonarroti was the spiritual leader -, Venuti paraded as an erudite, as a “Temperatissimo Filosofo”, as Stosch himself would address him as in a letter written ten years later, on the occasion of Venuti’s wedding[16]. And this philosophical temper must have been a salient feature of his character since, when delivering a funeral oration in praise of him at the Etruscan Academy on August 22nd 1755, Girolamo Boni singled it as one of his main virtues, acquired since his early years[17].

An astronomy fanatic, young Knight Venuti had attended the lectures of the great mathematicians and famous jurists of the University of Pisa. He knew ancient Greek, which he had learned in Florence under Abbot Anton Maria Salvini, and was familiar with debates about epigraphy and numismatics, which were part of the otium of several Florentines at the turn of the 17th century and the first years of the Settecento. But this experimental piece imitating ancient marble herms not only reflects the scholarship, interest in antiquarian culture, and temperance of Cavalier Venuti. In 1730, such a portrait of an aristocrat was possible only in as cosmopolitan and liberal a society as Florence, which was admirably reconstructed by Fabia Borroni Salvadori about forty years ago[18]. In a neo-humanist climate, spiced with some self-irony, people were interested as much in politics as in works of art, in its contemporary production as well as in former centuries and in Antiquity, and in the market for those items itself; the debates on the culture and language of the Etruscans did not exclude an equally passionate interest in the Tuscan language of origins and in medieval history. A place was given to anything different and bizarre, the most liberal of all being the Grand Duke himself, Gian Gastone, the last of the Medici. This is testified to by the warm welcome reserved to Baron Stosch, an avowed atheist and nonconformist, whose oddities and political schemes ended up irritating the Papal court to the extent that he had to flee Rome in order to save his life[19]. As well as the fact that, around 1730, visiting Englishmen could create a masonic lodge in Florence, probably the first one in the Italian Peninsula[20].

The experimental aspect of this effigy is attested too by Venuti’s choice of the artist, a young Frisian sculptor of the same generation as Marcello, who apparently died in Florence in 1736[21]. Some time after this bust, and in all likehood thanks to the recommendation of Marcello Venuti, Meijers made a beautiful bronze medal (fig. 3) representing Marcus Tuscher (1705-1751), an artist from Nurnberg who had a wide-ranging practice and had arrived in Florence following Stosch in February 1731, after an almost three-year stay in Rome[22]. The all’antica bust, the iconography of the reverse, the Greek captions, and, more generally speaking, the “noble simplicity” of this medal are elements which testify to the new taste in Marcello Venuti’s Florentine circle: a neo-antique taste, which had matured in the shadow of letterati keen on Plato and Greek philosophers, as Marcello’s master, Anton Maria Salvini, one of the great Hellenists of his time, deceased in 1729, had advocated[23].

More generally speaking, when considering that it was in Florence, between 1755 and 1758, that such innovative and stunning portraits could be made – as the one of the physician Antonio Cocchi, the curator of the grand-ducal collections and one of the most famous free-masons in town, by Joseph Wilton, or the black fighter in pietra di paragone by Francis Harwood, one realizes that the place of Florence in the birth of European neo-classicism is worth reconsidering[24].


Philosophers, artists, aristocrats and dandies

We do not know what happened to the bust by Marcus Meijers when Marcello Venuti, elected the following year Gran Conservatore of the Order of Saint Stephen in Pisa, went and greeted Gian Gastone’s alleged successor to the throne, Charles of Bourbon, in Antibes, following afterwards the latter’s trajectory to Naples, where the young king triumphantly entered on the 10th of May 1734. This effigy reappeared in Paris in 2004 at the Biennale des Antiquaires. I had not found any trace of it in the Archives of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona, where most of the Marcello Venuti Papers are preserved.  Nevertheless Pablo Vasquez-Gestal recently drew my attention towards a  photographic reproduction without any caption in an article by Virgilio Catalano published in 1955[25]. The bust is far from having unveiled all its secrets. Be that as it may, this bust does not seem to have aroused emulators in either Florence or in Naples, where Marcello lived six years, discovering, among other things, the ruins of the theatre of Herculaneum, before retiring for good in Cortona in June 1740.

It was rather the display of ancient herm busts coming both from the old Vatican collections and the acquisition of Cardinal Alessandro Albani’s first collection in the galleries of the new Capitol Museum, which were installed around 1740, and above all the extraordinary finds made in the 1770s in the vicinity of Tivoli, which drew the artists and patrons’s attention to this type of portraits[26]. Winckelmann did not linger on it either in the first edition of his Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums, published in 1764. One therefore had to wait fifty years or so after Marcello Venuti and Marcus Meijers, that is around 1778-1780, before Houdon unearthed the herm bust again for an all’antica posthumous bronze bust of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (fig. 4), now in the Louvre, which was probably circulated with a matching piece representing Voltaire, made in 1781[27]. Smaller and more naturalistic than Venuti’s one, Rousseau’s effigy was realized after his death-mask; he wears the headband of philosophers and is wrapped in the cloak that was their attribute. Like antique models, the cloak rolling up around the neck hangs down on the front, letting the chlamys appear. Obviously, during his Roman stay, Houdon must have carefully observed the herms at the Capitol, the engraved images of which had nevertheless been available since 1741, when the first volume of Bottari’s Museo Capitolino was published. The fact that bronze was chosen as a material might also testify to the influence of the busts from Herculaneum and Pompei; as a matter of fact the volume of the Antichità d’Ercolano esposte devoted to bronze sculptures was published in 1767, but only few privileged people could have these books at their disposal, for King Ferdinando did not permit them to be sold. From Marcello Venuti to Rousseau, the herm bust was assimilated therefore to portraits of philosophers and men of letters of Grecian Antiquity, but without breaking a more than restrained circle of happy few. But something was changing.

Around 1783, Gavin Hamilton, a Scots painter living in Rome and making a fortune as a purveyor of antique marbles, chose to be portrayed in a beautiful white marble herm bust by the Irish sculptor Christopher Hewetson (fig. 5). With the chest part of the bust bigger than in the preceding two works and a bent head, this portrait, known in two examples, was probably meant for a high fixed console[28]. There are no doubts about the ancient models it drew upon, such as a splendid herm depicting Antisthenes (fig. 6), found in the Academy of Villa Adriana at Tivoli in the first half of the 18th century and bought by Pius VI in 1777 for the Museo Pio Clementino[29]. One of the better known figures on the Roman market of antiquities in the last quarter of the Settecento, Gavin Hamilton also associated then his effigy with those of ancient philosophers. Was it because he loved Greek philosophy? –in his youth, he studied ancient Greek at the University of Glasgow. Or was an aesthetic interest for that abstract schema with refined geometric lines breaking out?

The fact is that, two years later, the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, José Nicolas de Azara, who owned one of the most beautiful collections of antique herm busts found in the excavations he himself had financed at Tivoli since 1779, had himself portrayed in a double herm in order to celebrate his friendship and admiration towards Anton Raphael Mengs (fig. 7)[30]. This little biscuit with a greenish patina recalling buried marbles is 28 cm high; the two faces derive from busts moulded by Hewetson in 1779, now in Dresden. A work of the factory that Giovanni Volpato had just opened near Santa Pudenziana, this double herm testifies as much to the antiquarian fever of the patron as to his taste for the new classicizing style of which Mengs, who died in 1779, had been one of the paladins. To my mind, it also pays homage to an exceptional piece in the Capitoline collections, the double herm depicting Epicurus and Metrodoros (fig. 8) discovered in December 1742 in the foundations of the new portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This intimate bust, in which the two portraits are rendered far more to resemble each other – through hairstyle, among other things – inaugurated a very profitable activity for Giovanni Volpato’s factory, as it became famous for its reproductions of antique works intended for the public of the Grand Tour[31].

As commemoration, the herm type was successful in Paris too with young Chaudet. At the Salon of 1795, he showed an interior cenotaph (fig. 9) in which a seated woman was grasping the portrait of her husband on top of a hermaic pillar, thus returning to the origins of the genre[32]. When you think it over carefully, it would seem that at the end of the 18th century, in Rome as well as in Paris, the revival of the herm bust could not emerge without an archaeological antecedent. Contrary to the impressions one gets when looking at the Volpato piece ordered by Minister Azara, when you see the copies after the antique made in biscuit in Naples by the Real Fabbrica Ferdinandea under Filippo Tagliolini from 1785 on, you feel much unease (fig. 10)[33]. Cut on the front and reduced on the back so as to be put on socles, these herms have been completely denatured and transformed into generic all’antica busts. If originally these portraits stood quite naturally by themselves, in the reduced version, they need three external elements, namely the index tabula, the socle and a square base. Was the herm type deemed too severe for decorative objects of such a small size? It is a fact that they preferred to match them with the other biscuits of the series, all of them being equipped with socles[34].

At the beginning of the following century, in his Household and Interior Decoration, Thomas Hope, the apostle of Regency style, recommended to put herm busts directly on top of mantelpieces, taking as an example one that Flaxman made for Hope’s brother Henry Philip in 1802-03 (fig. 11)[35]. He celebrated matter of fact frontality as the only possible choice for a sculpted portrait – not to betray the true to life quality of the face, and to respect a certain “dignified simplicity”. “I shall beg to add – he writes – that the Grecian method of cutting the chest square, and placing its whole mass immediately on a term or other solid support seems much preferable to the more prevailing Roman fashion of rounding off that chest, and balancing its center only on a slender and tottering pivot[36].” After a long oblivion, the cause of the herm bust hadstrong and vocal advocates.


A new effigy of power

During the revolutionary years, under the influence of the cult of famous men, little by little the herm effigy eventually asserted itself as a reference formula for busts of politicians, philosophers and poets. And this was the case in the whole of Europe[37]. The echo sounded by the unearthing of the herm of Alexander the Great in the Azara excavations and of that of Pericles in neighbouring areas explored on behalf of the Camera Apostolica no doubt contributed to such a success[38]. Pericles’ bust, put on display in the Pio Clementino in 1781, had been celebrated by the poet Vincenzo Monti two years earlier, at the time of its discovery in Tivoli, in a poem, the Prosopopea di Pericle, dedicated to Pope Pius VI; during the short-lived Roman Republic of 1798-1799, some lines of it were recited as an hymn to liberty restored[39]. As for Alexander’s herm, acknowledged as the only reliable likeness of the great conqueror, Azara – who was now living as an exile in Paris – presented it to the Premier Consul, in 1803[40]. In September of that same year, Bonaparte gave the bust to the Gallery of Antiquities of the Musée Napoléon. It was clear that, in Antiquity, the herm type had not been restricted to men of letters: it was then adopted for the great hero of the time, who was himself madly enthusiastic about the effigies of famous men of ancient Graeco-Roman civilization, so much so that he ordered a catalogue of them made by Ennio Quirino Visconti, a prominent exile who was in charge of the Gallery of Antiquities[41].

Chaudet was the first to deliver a herm bust of Napoleon (fig. 12), as early as the summer of 1804, hardly a month after the Empire was proclaimed[42]. Impassive, with a blank gaze, his locks stuck on the forehead, his first name engraved on the front of the herm, the French Emperor appears as a timeless figure. Reproduced many times in various materials, this effigy soon asserted itself as the image of the new sovereign, who had not ordered this portrait yet did not do anything to prevent its dissemination. This effigy, both idealized and energetic, was perfect as an icon of power, which wishes to be all the more reassuring as it is more authoritative. In a portrait of Laetitia Murat painted by Jeanne-Élisabeth Chaudet-Husson – the sculptor’s wife – in 1806, today in Fontainebleau (fig. 13), the child is even appropriating the bust to put it among her toys[43].

As an image of absolute power the herm bust made its way in the world; many were the sculptors who drew their inspiration from Chaudet’s effigy for other busts of the Emperor, in France as well as in Italy, or in Flanders, as can be verified by dropping into the catalogue compiled by Gérard Hubert and Guy Ledoux-Lebard[44]. Among all these busts, Houdon’s magnificent terracotta (fig. 14) stands out. It is an exceptional result of the sittings at the Château of Saint-Cloud, which the artist had managed to obtain doubtless thanks to Denon’s mediation. This bust should have been nothing but the first rough shape of a colossal statue that was meant to surmount the column of the military camp in Boulogne-sur-Mer, but the statue was never created and the terracotta remained in the sculptor’s studio[45]. Exhibited at the Salon of 1806 and acknowledged as a very good likeness, this portrait, with its magical gaze and an almost supernatural beauty, is a skilful mixture of ancient models – for old Houdon adapted the herm formula to the characteristics of one of the most beautiful portraits of Augustus (fig. 15) which had been seized in Palazzo Bevilacqua in Verona and was at that time to be found in the Galeries des Antiques[46]. As a matter of fact, the band, which encircles the emperor’s head, is knotted on the nape of the neck and hangs down on the front in two small strings on the shoulders – it is a recreation of the bands ornating Augustus’ corona civica in the portrait now in the Glyptothek in Munich – an effigy which represents Augustus as the father of the country and not as an emperor.

It took therefore three centuries since the first discoveries in Tivoli of ancient examples for the herm bust to become a formula for modern busts. Doubtless too archaic and too abstract, excluding all kinds of attributes except evocations of garments, it could not be adapted to the representation of heroes such as the princes of the Renaissance. Unthinkable in the 17th century, which would not have stood such restraint, it was rediscovered in an extremely cultured circle in Florence in the 1720s-1730s, yet Marcello Venuti’s bust, of an utmost singularity, could be displayed only in a private study. Only when the vogue for the antique and the neo-antique reached its climax among foreign circles in Rome was the herm bust rediscovered by some amateurs, little by little. From that moment on, around the middle of the 1780s, it turned into a must in the learned European elite, becoming a symbol of neo-classical art in the 19th century. At that time, in a Germany so keen on Greek culture, one could erect sanctuaries honouring famous men, such as the Walhalla designed by Klenzenear Regensburg (1827-1842)or the Ruhmeshalle in Munich – completed in 1853, but the plan for which was brewing since the 1810s. The Walhalla celebrates the great men – and a few women – who brought fame to German civilisation, whereas the Ruhmeshalle is a monument to the great men of Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia. In these monumentsdozens of marble herm portraits are perched on consoles, as must have been the case in Hadrian’s Academy in his Villa at Tivoli.

Figura - Studi sull'Immagine nella Tradizione Classica, nº 2, 2014.

** I have had the opportunity to discuss the content of this article first during a seminar at Villa Medici in Rome in March 2009, then during conferences given at the Université libre in Brussels (March 2009) and at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (May 2009). I wish to thank the friends and colleagues for their precious suggestions. I also wish to express my gratitude towards the late Patrick Bellanger and towards Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.

[1] All these elements derive from M. Kätzlmeier-Frank: Theodor Galles Zeichnungen zu Fulvio Orsinis Imagines. Der Codex Capponianus 228, Mûnster and Hamburg 1993, pp. 30-34; and C. Gasparri: ‘La collection d’antiques du cardinal Ferdinand’, in A. Chastel and Ph. Morel, ed.: La Villa Médicis, II, Études, Rome 1991, pp. 450-51. But see also E. Voutiras: ‘Imagines virum illustrium. Problemi d’identificazione dei ritratti greci’, Archeologia Classica, LX, n. s. 10 (2009), pp. 85-115.

[2] H. Wrede: ‘Römische Antikenprogramme des 16. Jahrhunderts’, in M. Winner, B. Andreæ and C. Pietrangeli, ed.: Il Cortile delle Statue. Der Statuenhof des Belvedere im Vatikan. Akten des internationalen Kongresses zu Ehren von Richard Krautheimer. Rom, 21-23. Oktober 1992, Mainz 1998, pp. 99-115.

[3] The first three volumes of the national edition of Pirro Ligorio’s manuscripts were published only in 2005. See, for exemple, P. Ligorio: Libri degli Antichi Eroi e Uomini Illustri, B. Palma Venetucci, ed., Rome 2005.

[4] On this phenomenon, see the masterly essay written by P. Falguières: Les Chambres des merveilles, Paris 2003.

[5] A. Statius: Illustriumvirorum ut extant in Urbe expressi vultus, Rome 1569; and F. Orsini: Imagines et Elogia Virorum Illustrium et Eruditorum ex antiquis lapidibus et nomismatib. expressa cum annotationib. ex Bibliotheca Fulvii Ursini, Rome 1570. On this collections, see, among others, B. Palma Venetucci: ‘Gli Uomini Illustri : brevi considerazioni sui Codici Torinesi’, in Eadem, ed.: Pirro Ligorio e le erme di Roma,  Rome 1998, pp. 15-17.

[6] Th. Galle: Illustrium Imagines ex antiquis marmoribus Nomismatibus, et Gemmis expressæ : quæ extant Romæ, maior pars apud Fulvium Ursinum. Theodorus Gallæus delineabat Romæ ex Archetypis, incidebat Antverpiæ, ex officina Plantiniana sumptibus Theodori Gallæi, 1598 ; and J. Faber: Illustrium Imagines ex antiquis marmoribus Nomismatibus, et Gemmis expressæ : quæ extant Romæ, maior pars apud Fulvium Ursinum. Theodorus Gallæus delineabat editio altera, aliquot Imaginibus, et I. Fabri ad singulas commentario, auctior atque illustrior, Antwerp1606.

[7] A nice specimen of this medal, the legend of which is in Greek and Latin, is kept at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge: see L. Smolderen, in S. K. Scher, ed.: The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance, New York 1994, pp. 349-50, no. 157.

[8] « Flavio P<h>ilostrato […] liberto di Tito Vespasiano, il quale fu sophista, et come si vede, il suo termine era nella sua casa Cæliana nell’Esquilie, con quelle parole scritte nel petto […] ; la cui effigie fu levata dalla sua forma di termine et ridutta in un petto da Fabritio Romano et venduta. […] Ora del Philostrato liberto de’ Flavii fu privato del suo nome da uno ignorante et sciocco scultoraccio et venduto ad un altro secco anticario per la effigie di Lucio Ælio Cesare : quantunque fusse diversa affatto dalla effigie di Ælio, la quale si trova in medaglia et in marmo : cosa veramente ridicola, che tanto possi la fortuna et il tempo, coll’avaritia et la ignoranza, in questo secolo. Perciò che sendo tirato il scultoretto dal guadagno, non sapendo di potere far miglior mercantia con la effigie del Philostrato, la trasmutò a meglior suo proposito per un Cesare ; vendendolo, il battezzò Ælio, veggendo che quello lo quale così lo comprò perché voleva concordare la serie dell’imperadori. Oltre a questo quante teste ha trovate di huomini di età et rasi di barba, tante n’ha trasmutate in nella effigie di Cesare dittatore, talché le effigie de’ philosofi, che non curavano vivi li imperii, si sono le loro memorie ammascherate nelli imperadori istessi, mediante la falsità operante nell’avaritia di coloro che fanno turpe guadagno. Questi poverelli, sendo dati al cavare danari, hanno guastate non solo le effigie di quei che non hanno conosciute et battezzateli a loro diporto, ma hanno rovinati infiniti ornamenti di edificii per <ad>oprare quelle opere per marmo ; et talvolta, anzi sempre, hanno guaste le più belle cose del mondo per farne le più brutte. » Ligorio, op. cit. (note 3), p. 108 [cod. Taurinensis 23, fol. 133].

[9] On this milestone in the history of neoclassical portraiture, nowadays in London, in the Todd Longstaffe-Gowan & Tim Knox Collection at Malplaquet House, see D. Gallo: Modèle ou Miroir? Winckelmann et la sculpture néoclassique, Paris 2008, pp. 26-27.

[10] See P. Barocchi and D. Gallo, ed.: L’Accademia etrusca, exh. cat. Cortona (Palazzo Casali) 1985; L. Del Bianco: ‘Sei lettere di Tanucci a due corrispondenti toscani’, in Bernardo Tanucci e la Toscana. Tre giornate di studio, Pisa, Stia, 28-30 settembre 1983, Florence 1986, pp. 116-38; and Monica Maria Angeli: ‘Nuove lettere di Marcello Venuti in Marucelliana’, Annuario dell’Accademia Etrusca, XXX (2002-03), pp. 45-77.

[11] Cortona, Biblioteca del Comune e dell’Accademia etrusca, ms. 552, fol. 79, « Disposizioni testamentarie di Domenico Girolamo Venuti, Firenze 1729, 8 novembre ». See also M. Gori Sassoli: ‘La Villa Venuti di Catrosse a Cortona. Notizie e documenti’, Annuario dell’Accademia etrusca di Cortona, XXI (1984), pp. 7-8. On Domenico Girolamo, see also T. Venuti De Dominicis : I Venuti, Rome 1889, pp. 20-21; and G. Mancini: Contributo dei Cortonesi alla cultura italiana, Florence 1922, p. 128.

[12] For Marcello Venuti’s date of birth, see Cortona, Biblioteca del Comune e dell’Accademia etrusca, ms.  551.

[13] On this bust, today in the Bode Museum in Berlin, see especially Ph. Sénéchal: ‘«Attaché entièrement à l’Antiquité et à mon caprice»: Die Büste des Barons Philipp von Stosch von Edme Bouchardon’, in U. Fleckner, M. Schieder and M. F. Zimmermann, ed.: Jenseits der Grenzen: Französische und deutsche Kunst vom Ancien Régime bis zur Gegenwart. Thomas W. Gaehtgens zum 60. Geburtstag, Köln 2000, I, Inszenierung der Dynastien, pp. 136-48; and D. Gallo: ΄Gli scultori francesi e le antichità romane’, in L. Norci Cagiano de Azevedo, ed.: Roma triumphans? L’attualità dell’antico nella Francia del Settecento, atti del convegno internazionale (Roma, Centro di Studi italo-francesi e Musei Capitolini, Sala di Pietro da Cortona, 9-11 marzo 2006), Rome 2007, pp. 278-83.

[14] F. Borroni Salvadori: ΄Marcus Tuscher, artista norico fra la Toscana e Roma’, in Miscellanea di studi in memoria di Anna Saitta Revignas, Florence 1978, p. 98.

[15] As it was well proved by M. Baker, C. Harrison and A. Laing: ΄Bouchardon’s British sitters: sculptural portraiture in Rome and the classicising bust around 1730’, The Burlington Magazine (December 2000), pp. 752-62.

[16] Letter written from Florence on the 20th of December 1740: Cortona, Biblioteca del Comune e dell’Accademia etrusca, ms. 552, fol. 129.

[17] « […] ritenne i precetti dell’Arte Oratoria, e della Poetica ; indi a più seri studi applicandosi valicò il corso di un’intricata Filosofia, dalla quale singolare penetrazione, ed acutezza d’ingegno acquistò, dote che nel resto del suo vivere fu in lui oggetto di maraviglia. » Elogio del marchese Cavaliere Niccolò Marcello Venuti primo fondatore della nobile Accademia etrusca detto in Cortona nella solenne Adunanza di detta Accademia tenuta nel Palazzo Pubblico della Città il dì 22. Agosto 1755 da Girolamo Boni Gentiluomo Cortonese e accademico Etrusco, p. 20.

[18] Besides the reference mentioned note 14, see especially F. Borroni Salvadori: ‘Le Esposizioni d’arte a Firenze dal 1674-1767’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XVIII (1974), no.1, pp. 1-165; Eadem: ‘Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri e gli artisti contemporanei’, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, IIIth series, IV, 4 (1974), pp. 1503-55; and Eadem: ‘Tra la fine del granducato e la reggenza: Filippo Stosch a Firenze’, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, IIIth series (1978), pp. 565-614. For  a more recent assessment, see J. Boutier and M. P. Paoli: ‘Letterati cittadini e principi filosofi. I milieux intellettuali fiorentini tra Cinque e Settecento’, in J. Boutier, B. Marin and A. Romano, ed.: Naples, Rome, Florence. Une histoire comparée des milieux intellectuels italiens (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles), Rome 2005, pp. 331-403. See also the very rewarding essay by M. P. Paoli: ‘Anton Maria Salvini (1653-1729). Il ritratto di un  « letterato » nella Firenze di fine Seicento’, ibidem, pp. 501-44.

[19] Z. Ciuffoletti: ‘Per la storia della massoneria in Toscana’, in Idem, ed.: Le origini della massoneria in Toscana (1730-1890), Foggia 1989, pp. 15-20.

[20] Ibid., p. 9-23; F. Bertini: ‘La massoneria in Toscana dall’età dei Lumi alla Restaurazione’, in Z. Ciuffoletti, ed.: Le origini della massoneria in Toscana, cit. (note 19), pp. 43-71 ; and A. M. Morelli Timpanaro: Per una storia di Andrea Bonducci (Firenze, 1715-1766). Lo stampatore, gli amici, le loro esperienze culturali e massoniche, Rome 1996, pp. 131-36.

[21] F. Borroni Salvadori : ‘Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri… ‘, cit. (note 18), p. 1519 indicates instead 7th December 1732 as hisdate of death.

[22] SeeG. De Lorenzi, in P. Barocchi and D. Gallo, ed.: op. cit. (note 10), p. 172-173, no. 163.

[23] M. P. Paoli: op. cit. (note 18), p. 520.

[24] On this two busts, see, lately, M. Trusted: The Return of the Gods. Neoclassical Sculpture in Britain, exh. cat. London (Tate Britain) 2008, p. 27, no.13 and p. 34, no. 26 ; D. Gallo: op.cit. (note 9), pp. 23-24 and 39-41 ; and G. Scherf, in G. Faroult, Chr. Leribault and G. Scherf, ed. : L’Antiquité rêvée. Innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle, exh. cat. Paris (musée du Louvre) 2010, pp. 400-01, no. 133.

[25] V. Catalano: ‘Marcello Venuti’, Nostro Tempo, IV, 12 (1955), p.n.n. I am very grateful to Pablo Vasquez-Gerdal for this kind indication.

[26] See the commented list published by B. Palma Venetucci, ed.: Le Erme tiburtine e gli scavi del Settecento, Rome 1992.

[27] G. Scherf : Houdon 1741-1828. Statues, portraits sculptés …, Paris 2006, pp. 86-89, no. 14, and pp. 201-02, no. 41.

[28] A specimen is kept at the musée des Beaux-arts in Marseille, whereas the second one, ordered by Sir William Hamilton, was given to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow by the diplomat’s nephew, Charles Granville, in 1861. See I. Bignamini, in A. Wilton and I. Bignamini, ed.: Grand Tour. Il fascino dell’Italia nel XVIII secolo, exh. cat. Rome (Palazzo delle Esposizioni) 1997, p. 223, no. 161 and 162 ; and M. G. Barberini, in A. Lo Bianco and A. Negro, ed.: Il Settecento a Roma, exh. cat. Rome (Palazzo Venezia) 2005-06, p. 162, no. 45. On Gavin Hamilton, see henceforth A. Cesareo: ‘Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798) : «A gentleman of probity, knowledge and real taste»’, Saggi e memorie di storia dell’arte, 26 (2003), pp. 211-322.

[29] A. Di Leo, in B. Palma Venetucci, ed.: op. cit. (note 26), pp. 292-93.

[30] On this double herm kept at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, see especially J. Jordán de Urríes y de la Colina : ‘El diplomático José Nicolás de Azara, protector de las bellas artes y las letras’, Boletin del Museo e Instituto ‘Camón Aznar’, LXXXI (2000,) pp. 61-87 (esp. pp. 71-72); S. Roettgen: Mengs. La scoperta del Neoclassico, exh. cat. Padova (Palazzo Zabarella) and Dresden (Schloß) 2001, pp. 118-19, no. 11; and G. Scherf, in S. Allard, G. Scherf et alii, ed.: Portraits publics portraits privés 1770-1830, exh. cat. Paris (Galeries nationales du Grand Palais), London (The Royal Academy of Arts) and New York (The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) 2006-07, pp. 262-63, no. 93. On the excavations made for Azara, see B. Cacciotti, in B. Palma Venetucci, ed.:  op. cit. (note 26), pp. 177-221.

[31] Restored by Clemente Bianchi and Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, this double herm from the beginning of the 2nd century A. D. was given to the museum by Benedict XIV. It is kept in the Gallery of Philosophers. See M. G. Picozzi, in A. Lo Bianco and A. Negro, ed.: op. cit. (note 28), p. 293, no. 193. On the Volpato factory, see, among others, C. Teolato: ‘ La manifattura romana di Giovanni Volpato’, in H. Honour, ed.: I Trionfi di Volpato. Il centrotavola del Museo di Bassano del Grappa e il biscuit neoclassico, Cinisello Balsamo 2003, pp. 57- 121; A. González-Palacios: ‘Souvenirs de Rome’, in A. d’Agliano and L. Melegati, ed.: Ricordi dell’Antico. Sculture, porcellane e arredi all’epoca del Grand Tour, exh. cat. Rome (Musei Capitolini) 2008, pp. 43-48; and L. Melagati: ‘Giovanni Volpato e il cantiere romano’, ibidem, pp. 104-13.

[32] This marble is now kept in Paris, at the musée des Arts décoratifs. See G. Scherf, in S. Allard, G. Scherf etalii, ed.: op. cit. (note 30), p. 179, no. 56.

[33] See, for instance, O. Falco and J. Papadopoulos, in A. Caròla Perrotti, ed.: Le Porcellane dei Borbone di Napoli. Capodimonte e Real Fabbrica Ferdinandea 1742-1806, exh. cat. Naples (Museo Archeologico Nazionale) 1986-87, pp. 514-17, no. 476-82.

[34] On the other hand, Volpato realized groups of complete herms – i. e. with their stone posts -, intended for surtouts and with biscuit leaves and fruit garlands to link them together. See L. Melegati, in H. Honour, ed.: op. cit. (note 31), p. 270, no. 36.

[35] Household Furniture and Interior Decoration Executed from Designs by Thomas Hope, London 1807, pl. L. This bust by Flaxman is now kept in Copenhagen, at the Thorvaldsens Museum: see D. Bindman, in D. Watkin and Ph. Hewat-Jaboor, ed.: Thomas Hope Regency Designer, exh. cat. London (Victoria and Albert Museum) and New York (The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture) 2008, pp. 274-75, no. 9.

[36] Th. Hope, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, p. 120, quoted by David Bindman, op.cit. (note 34), p. 275.

[37] See, for instance, Abbot Raynal by Espercieux (1790), Mirabeau by Lucas de Montigny (exhibited at the 1791 Salon), Friedrich Gilly by Johann Gottfried Schadow (1801, Berlin, Akademie der Künste) or Montesquieu by Clodion (1801).

[38] B. Cacciotti, in B. Palma Venetucci, ed.: op.cit. (note 26), pp. 187-90, no. 1 (Alexander) and pp. 259-61, no. 12 (Pericles).

[39] In a biscuit produced by the Volpato factory, probably made in 1786-98 ca. and today at the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica in Turin, Pius VI is shown standing up and leaning at the Pericles herm restored in its primitive state, i. e. with his complete stone post. See L. Melegati, in A. d’Agliano and L. Melegati, ed.: op. cit. (note 31), pp. 232-33, no. 100; and G. Spinola and A. Imbellone, in C. Brook and W. Curzi, ed.: Roma e l’antico. Realtà e visione nel Settecento, exh. cat. Rome (Fondazione Roma Museo, Palazzo Sciarra) 2010-11, pp. 406-07, no. II.22 and II.23.

[40] See, lately, L. Laugier, in S. Descamps-Lequime and K. Charatzopoulou, ed.: Au royaume d’Alexandre le Grand. La Macédoineantique, exh. cat. Paris (musée du Louvre) 2011-12, p. 646, no. 411.

[41] The commission was given in the Winter of 1803. See D. Gallo: ‘L’ideologia imperiale e l’Iconographie Ancienne di Ennio Quirino Visconti’, in Ideologie e patrimonio storico-culturale nell’età rivoluzionaria e napoleonica. A proposito del trattato di Tolentino. Atti del Convegno (Tolentino, 18-21 settembre 1997), Rome 2000, pp. 55-77.

[42] G. Hubert and G. Ledoux-Lebard: Napoléon. Portraits contemporains bustes et statues, Paris 1999, pp. 79-87.

[43] In fact a deposit from the Malmaison. See, lately, O. Scognamiglio: I Dipinti di Gioacchino e Carolina Murat. Storia di una collezione, Naples and Rome 2008, p. 46.

[44] Op. cit. (note 42), pp. 94-111.

[45] Thisbust is now kept at the musée des Beaux-arts in Dijon. See G. Hubert and G. Ledoux-Lebard, op. cit. (note 42), pp. 112-17; and G. Scherf, op. cit. (note 27), pp. 333-37, no. 64.

[46] K. Vierneisel and P. Zanker, Die Bildnisse des Augustus. Herrscherbild und Politik im Kaiserlichen Rom, exh. cat. Munich (Glyptothek) and Berlin (Antikenmuseum) 1978-79, pp. 60-61, no. 5.9 and p. 93, no. 10. 1.

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