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NYC – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Bronze head of a sacred bull
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Image by wallyg
Bronze head of a sacred bull
Roman, ca. 1st century A.D.
From Octodurus (modern Martigny, Switzerland)

This bull’s head belongs to a group of monumental bronze statues found in 1883 in the forum basilica of the Roman city founded by the emperor Claudius. The three statues had been cut up for recasting as scrap. The other fragments comrise parts of a draped figure, possibly an emperor, the right leg and left arm of a naked figure, possibly Mercury, and the right foreleg of the bull.

The bull is a sacred animal with three horns–the one at the front is now missing. Many votive statuettes of three-horned bulls have been found in central and eastern Gaul. This head–the finest Roman bronze found in switzerland–must have bene an impressive sight in a sanctuary dedicated to a romanized form of Gallic worship.

Lent by Musee gall-romain d’Octodure, Fondation Pierre Gianadda Martigny (inv. MCA 0092) (L.2007.15)

The April 20, 2007 unveiling of the 30,000 square foot Greek and Roman Galleries concluded a 15-year project and returned thousands of works from the Museums permanent collection to public view. Over 5,300 objects, created between about 900 B.C. and the early fourth century A.D., are displayed, tracing the parallel stories of the evolution of Greek art in the Hellenistic period and the arts of southern Italy and Etruria and culminating in the rich and varied world of the Roman Empire from from the Late Republican period and the Golden Age of Augustuss Principate to the conversion of Constantine the Great in A.D. 312. The centerpiece of the new installation is the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court, a monumental, peristyle cour court with a soaring two-story atrium that links the various galleries and themes.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s permanent collection contains more than two million works of art from around the world. It opened its doors on February 20, 1872, housed in a building located at 681 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Under their guidance of John Taylor Johnston and George Palmer Putnam, the Met’s holdings, initially consisting of a Roman stone sarcophagus and 174 mostly European paintings, quickly outgrew the available space. In 1873, occasioned by the Met’s purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot antiquities, the museum decamped from Fifth Avenue and took up residence at the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. However, these new accommodations were temporary; after negotiations with the city of New York, the Met acquired land on the east side of Central Park, where it built its permanent home, a red-brick Gothic Revival stone "mausoleum" designed by American architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mold. As of 2006, the Met measures almost a quarter mile long and occupies more than two million square feet, more than 20 times the size of the original 1880 building.

In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was ranked #17 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1967. The interior was designated in 1977.

National Historic Register #86003556

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