There are many portraits in the form of a bust of Julius Caesar. And in this case we present you one that is preserved in the Vatican Museums and which was made in the first century before Christ.
In this or in many other marbles with the effigy of this soldier and ruler of theRepublic of Rome, he is shown to us as an exceptional character due to his features, which Above all, they transmit an absolute and unstoppable determination towards his goals. They convey to us all the ambition that inspired this politician, in whom they saw a threat to the Roman Republic due to his dictatorial desires. That is, he had one more idea of Empire forRome, which is why Julius Caesar was assassinated on the famousIdes of Marchin the year 44 BC. However, he had opened a path of government that would come a few years later when Caesar Augustus became emperor in 31 BC.
Portrait of Julius Caesar
But let's get back to artistic issues for now. The marble portraits of Julius Caesar convey all that determination and ambition especially because the artists present them to us in a totally realistic way. We see his wrinkles, furrowed brow, powerful jaw, high cheekbones of a stringy person, and his characteristic aquiline nose.
That realistic spirit for a character as powerful as this is truly a first in historyof Roman art in particular, and for the history of art in general. There is no idealization. Something that really was not going to last long, since with the arrival of the Empire, the rulers soon again had themselves portrayed in an idealized, and therefore propagandistic, way. It is enough to compare any of the effigies of Julius Caesar with the famous sculpture of Augustus of Prima Porta.
During the Republic, characters like Pompey, Sila, Cicero orCrassus had himself portrayed literally. They wanted to make themselves known as they were. It was not so much about making a display of power, we alth or beauty, but about reflecting their values, to get the people to see themselves reflected in them.
In this way realism came to portraiture, perhaps the great contribution of the Romans to art. They did not hesitate to present themselves as old or ugly if they were, but instead they emphasized showing themselves as sincere, firm, self-controlled, dignified and proud people. All of these issues are highly valued by their people, that is, who elected them to continue carrying out their government duties.