Virtually explore these museums with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
Link to the Capitoline Museums' website
A moment in time that’s lasted 2,000 years— the Spinario (Boy with Thorn)
How to represent an everyday moment—from the ancient world to the Renaissance
Severan marble plan (Forma Urbis Romae)
This ancient map served as an administrative tool for one of the largest empires in history.
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Rome
This three-in-one temple to “Jupiter Best and Greatest,” Juno, and Minerva was central in ancient Roman religion.
Capitoline Venus (copy of the Aphrodite of Knidos)
Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, emerges from her bath, but what did her nudity mean to the Greeks?
Portrait Bust of a Flavian Woman (Fonseca Bust)
Is this delicate female portrait what we think? Take part in a discussion of a masterpiece we know little about.
Abandoned as infants, the mythical founders of Rome were raised by a she-wolf.
Once identified as the founder of the Roman Republic, debate over this figure’s true identity rages on.
The Colossus of Constantine
Does the abstraction of form and faraway look in this colossal portrait hint at the growth of Christianity in Rome?
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Medusa
She’s a monster, but in this poignant marble bust, Medusa becomes a victim of her own plight.
Dying Gaul and Ludovisi Gaul
Pain is visible on the face of this dying warrior. Did the ancient Greeks sympathize with their defeated enemies?
Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius
Due to a fortunate case of mistaken identity, this commanding statue was saved from destruction.