The Sculpture Museum - Catalog - Page 79
Caesars series in Villa Borghese in Rome, while another was sent by King
Philip II of Spain to the gardens of the Casa de Campo in Madrid in 1571 (now
Museo del Prado, inv. no. E000158), and the Louvre in Paris houses another copy
from the same period (inv. no. MR684). The Grimani Vitellius also inspired the
drawings and paintings of masters such Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano, Palma il
Giovane and Peter Paul Rubens, which reinforced the statue’s place in the canon of
ancient works that modern masters should seek inspiration from. This is very well
expressed in a charming painting by the Dutchman Wallerant Vaillant (1623–1677),
which portrays a young artist sketching in front of a marble head of Vitellius (sold
at Sotheby’s, New York, in 1972).
Scholars today have remarked that the refined style and technical characteristics
of the Grimani Vitellius – such as its broad, imposing format, fine execution of the
hair and meticulous definition of details such as the pupils – indicate it dates to the
Hadrianic period, between the third and fourth decades of the second century ad.
A. Gonzalez-Palacios, II gusto dei principi, arte di corte del XVII e del XVIII secolo, Milan, 1993