PREAULT, Antoine Augustin
The bronze medallion by Antoine-Auguste Préault (1809-1879) presents the bust of Aulus Vitellius (15-69), a lion skin on his head. The high relief of the profile generates a dramatic shadow. This representation evokes the personality of an excessive, demagogical emperor who reigned over Rome for eight months before dying, torn to pieces by the crowd. Inspired by a famous Roman portrait known as ‘Vitellius of Venice’, the plaster medallion then called Old Roman Emperor, was refused at the Salon in 1834. The marble wasn’t commissioned from the artist by the State until 1871.