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Death on the Nile



Although the Art Institute’s portraits of the Roman emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117–38) and his youthful companion Antinous (c. A.D. 110–130) are not connected by a common artist or sculpture workshop, the two men are linked by history. Hadrian favored the young man, and the two spent several years traveling the Roman empire together until Antinous drowned in the Nile River in A.D. 130. Hadrian mourned the youth’s death in part by setting up portrait sculptures of him in cities and towns throughout the Roman Empire. See an example of these commemorations in this exhibition.


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