A Shield Portrait of Augustus in Toledo

I won’t comment on the debate about the recent find of a new portrait of ‘Caesar’ from the Rhône (other than that the French media hype certainly worked). Instead, I’ll point to the news that the Toledo Museum of Art has recently acquired this rather spectacular shield portrait, a so-called imago clipeata, of Augustus. The inclusion of running animals is rather unique in this context. The shield is apparently from a private collection, but I see no information about its provenance on the TMA’s website? They also seem to know more about its findspot than what they’re telling (at least on the website): How else can they say that this is “diplomatic gift for a distant and provincial ruler, to remind him of the power and majesty of Rome”?

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  1. The interesting point about Imago clipeata’ is that it gives you a rare frontal view of a Julio Claudian princeps for portrait study that you can’t find in Julio Claudian numismatics. For portrait study coins are used because we have the inscription on the coin which gives us a nice profile view of a given princeps or individual family member. For another very unique imago clipeata of princeps Claudius (41-54 A.D.) see the links below.

    Joe Geranio
    Julio Claudian Iconographic Association

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