Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

Reader 1

Michelle Berenfeld

Reader 2

George Gorse

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Rights Information

© 2013 Kathleen LaManna


Little did Hadrian know in 130 A.D. that when he deified his beloved departed Antinous, in order to provide a unifying symbol of worship for his diverse empire, that he was instead creating a lasting symbol of the antique world. This thesis examines the power of nostalgia and its successful use by two formidable men from different eras in Rome: The Emperor Hadrian and the extravagantly wealthy Renaissance merchant Agostino Chigi. Though separated by centuries, each man used the nostalgic allure of the beautiful youthful male figure of Antinous to gain power and influence in his own time and to leave a lasting impact on generations to come. Using the statue known as the Farnese Antinous I will show that these very different men were not so different after all: each understood the human tendency to romanticize the past, and each attempted to evoke a feeling of nostalgia for the past from those they sought to “conquer.” Hadrian used portraits of Antinous to unite an empire and cement his place in history; Agostino used one of those very same portraits in commissioned artworks by Raphael to earn his place among the nobility of his day, and to leave a lasting legacy for his descendants.