WE have seen every sort of Antinous collectible ... jewelry, coffee mugs, T-shirts, amulets, posters ... but even the most avid collectors were surprised (and envious) to learn of the existence of an Antinous coloring book.
Thirty years ago there was a spate of paper-doll cutout books and coloring books for adults. Paper dolls of Joan Crawford and Mae West, for example.
These "children's" books were targeted at adult specialty genre collectors.
Some were published as refrigerator magnets ... the most famous being Michelangelo's "David" with a wardrobe of magnetic fashion accessories.
By and large, these books were gimmicky and often campy. But some took on serious highlights from art history ... offering coloring books which gave collectors a tongue-in-cheek gallery of famous works of art. There were coloring books of all sorts of things, including ancient civilizations.
But we had never heard of a coloring book featuring Antinous ... until now ....
One of our far-flung correspondents literally stumbled upon it ... here is what he says:
"I am always on the look out for Antinous finds. You know that feeling when you come face to face with our Beloved. You blink once, twice. Is that him? Then in your heart you know.
"Sharing my first find is a coloring book titled: 'Liber Romanus Pingendus A Coloring Book of Rome'. I found this in a used book store. You know the kind. The books are stacked floor to ceiling. They all have dust and that smell of old. I know it's weird but, I like that smell, the smell of history. Here are some pages that I know you will like."
Yes indeed ... we certainly like them. And we know you will too. The coloring book includes detailed plates showing Emperor Hadrian, his hand-picked heir Lucius Verus (hand-picked by Hadrian to be co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius), as well as a depiction of the Assumption of Antoninus Pius (Hadrian's immediate successor) ... and two pages devoted to Antinous himself.
Above is Antinous as Phanes encircled by astrological signs and enwrapped by a serpent.
At right is a line drawing of the famous Lanuvium bas-relief showing Antinous as the rustic deity Sylvanus/Aristaeus harvesting grapes with a dog looking up at him adoringly.
Get out your crayons!