Matthew James Collins

Art, Ideas and News. I am a painter, sculptor and printmaker.


Sculptor Giambologna died on this day in 1608 in Florence. Flemish by birth, Giambologna arrived in Rome in 1550 at age 21, where he embarked on one of the most successful careers in the history of Italian sculpture, working in both bronze and marble. His style came to dominate later Italian sculpture and was disseminated throughout Europe by small-scale bronze replicas of his monumental works.

Reference: Charles Avery. “Giambologna.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <>

Architecture, 1560s, bronze, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Portrait of Giovanni Bologna by Hendrick Goltzius, collection Teylers Museum

Appenine, 1570s, rock, lava, brick, Garden of the Villa Medici, Pratolino

Rape of the Sabines, 1581-83, marble, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence

Hercules and the Centaur, 1600, marble, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence

(Source:, via mythologer)

Gabriel at 9 months, plaster and bronze, life size

The Roman Empire

After Caesar died, he left his name and wealth to the 18 year-old Gaius Octavius (known from this time as Octavian until he became Augustus following Actium). But despite Octavian’s right to Caesar’s papers, Antony seized them and claimed his mantle of authority. The Senate threw its support behind Octavian, who seemed more tractable. This mildness, however, was a pose. Actually Octavian wanted to be named Consul,  and when the Senate refused to give it to him, he occupied the city with his army and forced his election to office. Then he formed an alliance with Anthony and another of Caesar’s men, Marcus Lepidus. As the Second Triumvirate, these three divided the Empire, Anthony to the East, Lepidus gets Africa, and Octavian in the West: all three shared Rome. But first to deal with the assassins. 

Et tu, Brute?

In the immediate aftermath of Caesar’s assassination, his killers lived without reprisal, but after Anthony and Octavian aligned they fled East. Brutus and Cassius, the most famous of the conspirators, both fell on their swords following their defeat at Philippi. With the assassins dead, they turned to disposing of their own personal enemies, real and imagined, among those murdered was the famed Marcus Tullius Cicero (who by this time had antagonized Antony behind repair).   

Antony and Cleopatra 

Not unexpected the uneasy alliance soon began to turn on itself. In 36 B.C. Octavian ousted Lepidus and took over control of the African provinces, at the same time usurping sole control of Italy. Then Antony, completely captivated by the lovely Cleopatra, rejected his legal wife, Octavian’s sister, and married Cleopatra, the Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt. The two men were now entirely alienated: Octavian reviled his brother-in-law, contrasting Antony’s profligacy with his own virtue. In 32 B.C. Octavian produced a document that he claimed was Antony’s will, and read it to the Senate: it bequeathed all of Rome’s Eastern territories to Cleopatra. 


The angry Senate promptly gave Octavian permission to annual Anthony’s powers and declare war on Cleopatra. The next year, at the Battle of Actium, the Roman fleet defeated the Egyptians,  and Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt. There, in despair, they killed themselves. Actium ended the civil wars that had plagued Rome for a century. It also ended the Republic, although Octavian, kept insisting that he had restored it. In fact, Rome had grown too vast to be managed by anything but a strong central authority. Octavian was to provide that authority.

(Source: last-of-the-romans, via pansatyriam)

Just about to put the final touches on the lettering of this bronze medallion entitled &#8217; In Dubium Vocare. &#8217;  It is a portrait of my uncle Al Collins.  After the final cesello work I can complete the patina.

Just about to put the final touches on the lettering of this bronze medallion entitled ’ In Dubium Vocare. ’ It is a portrait of my uncle Al Collins. After the final cesello work I can complete the patina.