The first two types belong to the emperor’s youth, before he assumed the duties of the principate.In the Roman world it was standard practice to create official portrait types of high-ranking officials, such as emperors that would then circulate in various media, notably sculpture in the round and coin portraits.It should be noted that the horse is an important and expressive element of the overall composition.
Scholars continue to debate whether he originally held some attached figure or object in the palm of the left hand; possible suggestions have included a scepter, a globe, a statue of victory – but there is no clear indication of any attachment point for such an object.
On the left hand the rider does wear the senatorial ring.
The original statue is now indoors for purposes of conservation. The statues themselves were, in turn, copied in other media, including coins, for even wider distribution. that was originally dedicated to the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, referred to commonly as Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 C.
Beginning in the 8th century, it was located near the Lateran Palace, until it was placed in the center of the Piazza del Campidoglio in 1538 by Michelangelo. E.) were to be seen—as they were official devices for honoring the emperor for singular military and civic achievements.
In the case of the equestrian statue, the portrait typology offers the best means of assigning an approximate date to the object since it does not otherwise offer another means of dating. and is best represented by the Capitoline Galleria 28 type, where the youth wears a cloak fastened at the shoulder (); this portrait was widely circulated, with approximately 25 known copies (above, left). E., when he was forty years of age; this was the occasion for the creation of his third and most important portrait type.
The earliest portrait of Marcus Aurelius dates to c. This mature type (type III, left) shows the emperor fully bearded with a full head of tightly curled, voluminous hair; he retains the characteristic oval-shaped face and heavy eyelids from his earlier portraits.
These portrait types are vital in several respects, especially for determining the chronology of monuments and coins, since the portrait types can usually be placed in a fairly accurate and legible chronological order.
The interpretation of these portraits relies on various key elements, especially the reading of hairstyle and the examination of facial physiognomy.
The horse wears a harness, some elements of which have not survived.