Ave Caesar Morituri te Salutant is an 1859 history oil on canvas painting in the Academic style by French artist and sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme. It is located in the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.
Ave Caesar Morituri te Salutant Analysis
This is a classicist painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme which drew great attention upon its appearance at the Parisian Salon.
As well as constituting a personal success, the painting likely contributed to a broad European fascination with the Roman world, particularly the gladiatorial arena. For what we are witnessing is the moment when a group of gladiators — arena fighters, here depicted in an imaginary Colosseum — present before the sitting emperor to give their salutes.
The particular phrase of the title is derived from a single passage in Suetonius, in which Gérôme exchanged the word “Imperator” for “Caesar”. It should be noted that the emperor depicted, a particularly portly Vitellius, sitting to the right of a group of Vestal Virgins, did not live to see the Colosseum itself inaugurated.
The vision derives from Gérôme’s lifelong studies of Roman matters and his many visits to Italy. He had seen the Colosseum for the first time in 1849, the year when his interest in ancient arms and contemporary archaeology begins.
In the scene of Ave Caesar, the fresh group of fighters uplifting their arms in salutation to the monarch is equipped with a mixture of helmets, shields, gladia, and tridents. All around, dead or injured fighters from the preceding match are lying while arena aides are dragging some of them away by means of ropes. The venue of this popular public amusement is brimming with spectators.
Ave Caesar Morituri te Salutant Location
This work can be found in the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.