The head of Jupiter from Ocriculum
Much of the Roman city of Ocriculum came to light with the excavation works promoted by Pope Pius VI and carried out between 1776 and 1784. Together with many monumental buildings, a considerable amount of valuable statues and herms (of emperors, augustae and divinity) splendid decorative works and materials related to the various aspects of the life of this important center that developed near a river port on the Tiber river. Of these finds, one of the best known is certainly the beautiful colossal marble head of Jupiter,probably belonging to the giant-sized statue of the same divinity placed in the local Capitolium. The work is a faithful Roman reproduction of the first century, created on a Greek model - probably the statue made by the sculptor Apollonius who in turn had taken the Zeus of the temple of Olympia as a model. Shortly after the discovery,the find was transferred to Rome (transporting it via Tiber) to be kept and exhibited at the Pio-Clementino museum (Vatican Museums), where it is still located. By the will of Pius VI, the museum was enriched with other archaeological materials from Ocriculum, including the magnificent octagonal polychrome mosaic that decorated one of the rooms of the Baths,a statue of Augustus and a sculpture of Venus.
The original cast of Jupiter's head can be admired at the municipal Antiquarium of Otricoli. Set up inside the Palazzo Priorale,the Antiquarium houses a varied collection of objects from the archaeological area of Ocriculum,such as inscriptions and decorative architectural fragments; the latter are also found in many medieval and Renaissance buildings located in the historic centre.
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