What head should go on a Roman statue?

Interesting account of the Getty’s debate about what to to with a headless Roman statue.

From the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s the opening:

Should
the 2nd century sculpture appear as Bacchus, or perhaps Alexander the
Great? Art historians and museum officials ponder a work’s future
identity.
By Sean Mitchell, Special to The Times

August 10, 2008

On a recent sunny Saturday, while most Southern Californians were
deployed somewhere enjoying a weekend hiatus, 20 art historians,
conservators and museum officials shifted in their chairs around a
long, U-shaped table in an air-conditioned conference room at the Getty
Villa in Malibu, theorizing, listening and pondering out loud whose
head to put on a headless 1,800-year-old Roman statue.

The result of their scholarly exchanges and deliberations would
determine whether the future identity of the monumental white marble
semi-nude, 2nd century male being reassembled in the Getty’s workshop
would be the Roman god Bacchus or the real-life boy lover of the
Emperor Hadrian, known as Antinuous, or the Greek conqueror Alexander
the Great.

Imagine such a group in future millenniums trying to decide
whether a headless torso dating from 20th century America was
originally a likeness of Elvis Presley, Truman Capote or Dwight D.
Eisenhower.

Read the rest

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