Two Roman ‘Twelve Caesars’ paintings of Vespasian and Titus, 17th century
Italian school, after Peter Paul Rubens
Two portraits from the range of the ‘Twelve Caesars’. Three-quarter laureate portraits in oval. The name of the emperor below with Roman numeral.
Oil paint on wooden panel, in modern frame
Based on the series of twelve bust-length portraits of Roman emperors originally painted by Peter Paul Rubens in about 1626. He painted the first twelve emperors whose lives were documented by the Roman author Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, a popular theme in the 17th century.
Suetonius’ work has also had a significant impact on coin collecting. Even in Rubens’ time, collecting the twelve caesars in gold and silver was a popular pursuit for collectors of Roman coins.