Ceres

Ludovico Lombardo

Ferrara, 1507/8 – 1575

Bronze, height 75cm

Inv. 2621

The Galleria Estense, Modena

This bust may be traced to an entry in Alfonso II d’Este’s property inventory of 1584. Its stylistic characteristics allow for comparison with a very similar bust, now kept at the Cà d’Oro in Venice and paired with a portrait of Emperor Hadrian. The ears of wheat that define the hair-arrangement lead us to believe that this is a portrait of Empress Vibia Sabina―Hadrian’s wife―dressed as Ceres. Ludovico Lombardo specialised in the creation of this type of classicising busts for numerous clients across the Italian peninsula, all evidently looking to complete their collections of ancient portraits with ‘modern’ works.