2014-16, Oil on Italian Linen, 120 x 100cm
Calleen Open Art Prize 2014, Finalist and Highly Commended
Kennedy Art Prize 2014, Finalist
He was the most powerful man in the world. And still he was teased.
A vain man, unhappy about his thinning hair, Julius Caesar would brush the thin strands forward in version of today’s “comb over.” Unfashionable then as now, his enemies mocked him. Luckily a solution was at hand; the laurel wreath was the perfect thing to hold a comb over in place.
In a custom, like so much of Roman culture, actually stolen from Greece, formerly wreaths were awarded any soldier recognised for military valour. However following his success in Asia Minor, the Senate awarded Caesar the privilege that only he may wear one. Of all the honours voted to him, apparently none pleased him as much as this act of vanity.
And as the man who defined the imperial model, the wreath was adopted by all subsequent Emperors and as a symbol of power it now adorns statues, buildings and even the United Nations flag.
Yet in a lesson for all, perhaps Caesar should have paid more attention to what his enemies were plotting than saying.