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Peter Paul Rubens

These busts of the Romain emperors Vitellius (15-69 AD) and Vespasian (9-79 AD) originally belonged to a series of portraits of the first twelve Roman emperors.

They were probably part of the decoration in Rubens’s house, where they hung above the niches in his ‘Pantheon’ or statue museum. The sketchily executed brushwork indicates that these works were never intended to be sold. The oval shape suggests that Rubens painted them for a specific purpose and location.



  • Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
  • Emperor Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus and emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian
  • Oil on panel
  • Long-term loan, private collection

Emperor Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus

Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian