ANTINOUS is the star of a wonderful gallery exhibition in Rome which brings together ancient and modern sculptures in a veritable art collision.
"Vita Dulcis: Fear and Desire in the Roman Empire" is an exhibition at Palazzo Esposizioni in Rome.
Its curators are the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli and the archaeologist Stéphane Verger, director of the Museo Nazionale Romano, which houses one of the greatest archaeological collections in the city.
It combines a selection of pieces from Vezzoli's repertoire of work based on engaging with the Roman world going back over a decade, with dozens of ancient sculptures and inscriptions.
The show features a superb bust of Antinous from the Collezione Boncompagni Ludovisi from the Museo Nazionale Romano collection. Famous for his intimate relationship with the emperor Hadrian (AD 76-138), Antinous drowned in the river Nile and was then deified by his bereft lover.
Positioned just behind the bust is one of Vezzoli’s most visually striking contributions. 'Portrait of Antinous as Rock Star' is an arrangement of six casts of Antinous, each featuring a colourful lightning bolt painted across one eye, as David Bowie sported on the cover the 1973 album Alladin Sane.