Lost Portraits

Antinoopolis, fragment of a white marble statue of Antinous. Found during the “Expédition d’Egypte” (1799-1801) and transported to Cairo, where it got lost. Innumerable fragments of similar statues, mutilated on obvious purpose, were at that time still laying at the foot of the columns erected on both sides of the main street of Antinoopolis. In the mid-19th century, any bit and piece of marble was converted into lime to construct a factory in Rhoda, on the other edge of the Nile. As a result, Antinoopolis disappeared from the surface of the earth. «Les formes pures et juvéniles respirent pourtant une certaine vigueur ; autant qu’on puisse en juger, l’attitude était d’une mollesse pleine de grâce» (Edmé-François Jomard, 1818)

Berlin, Altes Museum, Inv N° (Conze) 365. From the collection Polignac. Acquired for Friedrich II in 1742. Lost towards the end of World War II. «Im Ausdruck und in der Anordnung des Haares erinnert dieser Kopf hauptsächlich an den kolossalen Mondragone Antinous» (Eduard Gerhard, 1836)

Egyptomania is the Western fascination with ancient Egyptian culture and history. Although this fascination originated soon after the incorporation of Egypt into the Roman Empire, it specifically refers to the renewed interest in Egypt which took shape in Europe at the end of the 18th century, that was considerably enhanced by the "Egyptian Campaign" (1798-1801) and lasted until the early days of the 20th century.
In this section, we document the impact of the famous Egyptian Antinous of the Vatican on the plastic and graphic arts

Private collection Franco Maria Ricci. Modern black marble bust, replica of the white marble Egyptian Antinous statue kept in the Vatican (Inv. N° 22795). The exact similitude of the calantica, the fleshy chest, the high shoulders relate it unequivocally to this most famous statue, which was reproduced in innumerable replicas from the end of the 18th century; its fame reached its climax in the first quarter of the 19th century, when a craze of "Egyptomania" swept all over Europe and North America.

Private Collection. Antique Antinous head on a modern bust. Found in 1769 in the Pantanello of the Villa Hadriana. Property of the House of Lansdowne from 1772 to 1995, when it was then acquired by an anonymous collector. «The calantica suits the character of the head admirably» (Adolf Michaelis, 1882)

Private Collection. Bust of Antinous in royal Egyptian headdress, in grey marble, by Henryk Ittar (1773-1850), around 1800. Height: 63.5cm. Sale at Sotheby's London on Friday, 9.December 2005. This version of Antinous was designed to be placed in the Tomb of Illusions, a temple within the romantic, classicising garden of Arkadia, the conception of the Princess Helena Radziwill (née Przezdziecka), created in the last decades of the 18th Century in Nieborow (Poland).

State Museum-Preserve Gatchina, Russian Federation. In the White Hall of the Palace of Gatchina, located 45 km south of St. Petersburg, there is a 18th century black marble statue inspired by the Osiris-Antinous in the Vatican Museums. It was carved in Italy by Antoine-Guillaume Grandjacquet (1731-1801), and placed in the palace by its first owner Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov (1734-1783). The figure was bought in Rome by the Maecenas of the Russian Enlightenment, Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov (1727-1797), and arrived in St. Petersburg in August 1769. Catherine II gave it as a present to her favourite Count Orlov along with the property of Gatchina. After his death, the palace returned to the Imperial family.

Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, A 22. Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Sully, 1st floor. Legs from a statue of Rameses II completed and restored as a statue of Antinous. Lower part: Egyptian alabaster, ca. 1250 BC, brought to Rome in the Imperial Era; upper part: Italian alabaster, 18th century. From the Albani collection. Photograph: Jastrow

London, Victoria & Albert Museum. N° A.4-1974. Statuette in rosso antico, 33 cm high. Italian origin, about 1800. Bequeathed by the 7th Duke of Wellington. Displayed in Room 101.

Private collection. A bardiglio marble figure of Antinous sold in an auction held in Bonhams London, January 21, 2008. Formerly in the collection of Naim Attallah, the former CEO of Asprey Holdings Ltd. This particular type with the tree support at the leg is probably after a pair of bleu turquin marble statues of Antinous by Pierre-Nicolas Beauvallet (1750-1818) made towards 1810, and now exhibited in Musée Marmottan, Paris (cf. Jean-Marcel Humbert (édit.), Egyptomania, 1994, 269-71, n° 154-5, fig.). Those were, in their turn, after the ancient figures of Osiris-Antinous, the most well known of which being the white marble statue found in 1739 in the Canope of the Villa Hadriana.

Paris, Rue de Sèvres, 42, Fontaine du Fellah. In 1806, François-Jean Bralle (1750-ca.1832), inspired by the Egyptianizing Antinous of the Vatican (on display in Paris from 1798 to 1815, due to the looting carried out by the Napoleonic regime), designed this fountain, that was carried out in 1809 by Pierre-Nicolas Beauvallet (1750-1818). The statue deteriorated rapidly and was replaced in 1844 with this copy, visible nowadays, by Théodore Gechter (1796-1844). In 1831, Joseph Théodore Oudet (1793-1865), in its turn, used this fountain as inspiration to create his own version, more in accordance with ancient Egyptian art, raised in 1831 in Mauvages (France, départ. Meuse).

Mauvages (France, département de la Meuse), Fontaine du Déo. This wash house, the location of which in the small town of Mauvages is astonishing, was built in 1831 by Théodore Oudet (1793-1865). It is closer to the ancient Egyptian style that its Parisian counterparts; on the other hand, as in the case of the « Fontaine du Fellah », Antinous appears in it as yielder of water.

Private Collection. A pair of black marble statues, after the Osiris-Antinous in the Vatican Museums, auctioned off by Bonhams London, 23 January 2008. Late 19th Century by Louis Loys Potet (1866-?). High:104 cm.