Considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the golden bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180 AD) was excavated at the site of Aventicum – now Avenches in Switzerland – in 1939. It has now travelled from the Roman Museum in Avenches to Los Angeles for an intimate display at the Getty Villa (31 May–29 January 2024). The sculpture is made from a single sheet of gold and depicts the emperor wearing a breastplate decorated with the head of the Gorgon Medusa; it is believed to have been created for processional use. With other objects discovered at Aventicum, including a series of mosaic panels, the exhibition explores the ways that Roman rule adapted to local Helvetian customs. Find out more on the Getty’s website.
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