Description

The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs is a porphyry sculpture group of four Roman emperors dating from around 300 AD. The sculptural group has been fixed to a corner of the façade of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, since the Middle Ages. It probably originally formed part of the decorations of the Philadelphion in Constantinople, and was removed to Venice in 1204 or soon after. The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs depicts the four rulers in charge of the entire Empire, instituted by Emperor Diocletian. The Caesar he chose was Galerius, and they ruled over the Eastern half of the Empire, while the Western half was ruled by Augustus Maximian and Caesar Constantinius Chlorus, father of Constantine the Great. There is still discussion and disagreement as to the identity of these statues and their placement, but it is reasonable to assume that the Eastern rulers form a pair and the Western rulers form the other pair.

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