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'A Portrait of Antinous, in Two Parts' at Palazzo Altemps, Rome

The original face of Antinous goes on display Thursday together with its original bust in an exhibition at Palazzo Altemps titled "A Portrait of Antinous, in Two Parts", through January 15.

The exhibition brings together the original marbles, which date to the second century AD, solving a centuries-long mystery regarding the "new face" on the Palazzo Altemps' bust as noted in 1756 by the archaeologist J.J. Winklemann.

Egyptologist W. Raymond Johnson in 2013 discovered that the original face, held by the Art Institute in Chicago, belonged to the original bust, held at Palazzo Altemps.

"For us there's no doubt: one is the missing part of the other," said Palazzo Altemps Director Alessandro Capodiferro.

Antinous was a Bithynian Greek youth and a favourite, or lover, of the Roman emperor Hadrian. He was deified after his death by drowning in the Nile, being worshiped in both the Greek East and Latin West, sometimes as a god and sometimes merely as a hero.

Hadrian founded a city, Antinopolis, close to Antinous's place of death, which became a cult centre for the worship of Osiris-Antinous. Hadrian also founded games in commemoration of Antinous to take place in both Antinopolis and Athens, with Antinous becoming a symbol of Hadrian's dreams of pan-Hellenism.

Antinous became associated with homosexuality in Western culture, appearing in the work of Oscar Wilde and Fernando Pessoa.

Hadrian also erected monuments to his dead lover at his sprawling villa outside Tivoli (ancient Tibur), one of central Italy's most popular tourist sites.

Source: ANSA [September 15, 2016]

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