Living with conflict: Marcus Aurelius, a contemporary man?
Enjoy another section of "Roman Horses, Cavalli Romani." It's 22: "Marcus Aurelius, the Man/ Marco Aurelio, l'Uomo". The English text is below. The video is bi-lingual: English and Italian. You'll see the inspirations both outside and inside the Musei Capitolini; some of my drawings and water colors, and then the art quilt.
Roman philosopher, scholar, emperor, Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) had a long list of “job titles.” He must have been an extraordinary man to write his Meditations, which we are still reading today. With a question on your mind, just open the Meditations at random: there are almost always reminders about patience but, sometimes, also a call to action.
Well, here he is, victorious on a horse. His main victory, however, was over time, by being the type of person he the potential to be useful for us today. During the Middle Ages, the ancient buildings on the Capitoline Hill fell into disrepair. They were replaced by new municipal buildings during the 13th to 15th centuries. In 1537, Michelangelo received the task to reorganize the Piazza del Campidoglio and move the monumental equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius there. (This statue had escaped Christian destruction because, during the Middle Ages, it was believed to be a statue of Constantine, inside the Musei Capitolini.
A depiction of it is on the current 50 cent coin. I’m looking at a coin, minted in 2002, that shows this equestrian statue on top of the stone square for which Michelangelo designed the almost lotus-like inlay of stones. Around the circumference, the coin has twelve stars, one for each member of the European Union.