This striking classical revival masterwork has been attributed to Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (c. 1716 to 1799), a sculptor and restorer fascinated by the works of classical Rome and Greece. This interest was very much in the spirit of the time. The Accademia de San Luca, which he entered in 1732, was one of numerous European art institutions where the masterworks of the classical world were used to fuel the Enlightenment. His workshop in Rome became famous as a stopping point for European tourists on the Grand Tour, and sold both recent and ancient works of art. His al l antica (Lit. “in the antique style”) works were in great demand in what was essentially the jet set of the time: wealthy, well-travelled aristocrats, building collections of original and classically-inspired artworks. He also carried out major restoration works for Cardinal Albani (the nephew of Pope Clement XI, and the best known private collector of antiquities in Rome) and achieved additional fame with his publication of a three-volume work on antique designs 1768 and 1772. Cavaceppi rarely signed his work; while some of his statues were known to be his own original designs, others were confused with authentic antiquities.The current sculpture is a beautifully executed representation of Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (originally Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus) less felicitously known as one of the Mad Emperors, and presumably inspired by a classical original. The subject was, however, infamous in his lifetime, and is widely believed to be the worst Roman Emperor ever to have held office, in the mould of Nero and Caligula. Appointed as co-emperor in 177, he rose to full power in 180 upon the death of his father, the popular and successful Marcus Aurelius, the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. However, he did not perpetuate his father’s heritage, and was believed to be insane by many contemporary observers. The sole tangible benefit of his reign was to halt the persecution of Christians started by his father.