The Hadrian and Greece. Hadrian’s Villa between Classicism and Hellenism exhibition took place in 2014. It was curated to reflect and represent The Roman Emperor Hadrian’s love for Athens and Greece. The exhibition was held at the Villa Adriana, one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. Hadrian, a lover of philosophy and classical studies, designed the villa so he could enjoy it as his personal home. Today it is a classical and historical place.
About the artworks
The exhibition contained more than 30 ancient marble pieces (standing figures, caryatids, busts, relieves) and detached frescoes. Most artworks were transported from Greek archaeological institutions such as the National Archaeological Museums in Athens and Piraeus and the Archaeological Museum in Corinth – but also from leading Italian museums such as the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. International police were enlisted to escort the Crown truck from Athens to Tivoli.
One piece, the ‘Colossal Portrait Head of the Emperor Hadrian with Civic Crown’ was a II Century AD marble from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Two Caryatids, originally from the Villa’s Canopus, were also moved. These are marbles from the I Century AD. Emperor Hadrian had copies of the famous Caryatids from the Erechtheion in Athens positioned on the edge of the Villa’s Canopus. They were once part of a long theory of statues running along the perimeter of the Villa’s garden. These Caryatids were more than two meters in height and weighed more than a ton.
Handling the big pieces inside the ancient and small rooms of the Antiquarium in the Villa (a building from the II sec a.D.) was a very exciting challenge. The items included marble statues at a height of 200cm each and weight of 1300kg. Our specialized packers manoeuvred the marble statues into the exhibition halls of the Antiquarium through very small doors. This meant laying the crates down, transporting them to the halls and lifting them up to unpack and install, was particularly complicated.
Crown carefully and discreetly managed this extraordinary transport in cooperation with a fine art agent in Athens. Under the watchful eye of four officers from the Greek Museums and the Italian Ministry of Culture, Crown’s crew unpacked and installed the big, heavy and delicate marbles in Villa Adriana.