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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 4 lessons on Europe.
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the British Museum statue of Hadrian has been taken off display and brought into the stone conservation studio before going into the Hadrian exhibition it is an iconic figure of the Roman Emperor dressed in a flowing Greek mantle it has been reproduced countless times and over the years has reinforced a long-standing perception of Hadrian as a peace-loving admirer of Greek culture and customs a phila lean but curator torsten offer is not convinced the statue is all it should be it was excavated in Cyrene II an important city in northern Africa modern Libya in 1861 I comes from a site there the Temple of Apollo it was then shipped to the museum in late 1861 and it's been on display ever since the head and body were delivered as separate pieces to the museum and the 19th century museum staff must have decided that they went together the Greek robes reinforcing the victorian notion of Hadrian first of all it seems to fit very well all our concepts we have Hadrian is the first emperor with a beard a full beard and people have associated left with ancient Greece his love of ancient Greece and they called the spirit of philosophers beard so that was highly symbolic so you know it seemed at the time a really good match you have Hadrian looking almost like a Greek philosopher in Greek dress and you can well imagine him in his villa possibly walking around like this but this is not at all how Roman art worked the head is clearly Hadrian it conforms to an official type and Beno vaguely how the system worked there was a sort of court sculptor developing this type in it was that then disseminated throughout the empire and it really is important to have the Emperor recognizable that's why they took great care to conform to the type but the clothing doesn't fit at all with Roman convention you would expect to see this head in a statue clad in the toga the official Roman State costume or in military dress and not only does the clothing not fit with convention the head doesn't sit well on the body you can see from a distance that the head isn't quite right in proportion to the body it seems a little bit on the small side but most importantly you can see all this blaster fill all around here you can see how wide is all this I'm pointing to here is plaster this is not the way these were carved in antiquity this is the part of the job I've actually really been looking forward to and that's to start taking away the plaster to see how much we can reverse the third this Hadrian's head and then also the sculpture itself mr. the material is nice and soft but you can clearly see here and there that it doesn't match in that it wasn't calf to fit that socket or what a moment archaeology is all about making joins and creating things and now we're going to see some probably other surprises that's it yes ok well let's lift it off them she left it ok if you could steady steady as hell what take another change and you can see how the tenderness yes the socket is quite a different chick unless it there's a cup here take stock but as you say it's the details that don't marry him then they just wanted it to behavioral for the exhibition the head and the body will be reunited but making it obvious they are not fit discoveries are constantly being made as museum staff study the objects in their care and this is a lesson in the power of image the Victorian hadrian is no more