|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
Again, below are my preliminary readings or studies in
pencil, using the grid, to understand the charcter of
COSTANZO the Green ... and finally the pen & ink
drawing, on good Fabriano paper, of the emperor.
On the left is a photo of an authentic, period coin
representing Constantine as SOL INVICTUS,
invincible sun, from the time period immediately before
his Battle at the Milvian Bridge against the tyrant,
Maxentius, when he conceived his force and victory
coming from an all-powerful divine source -- a sort of
Apollo -- that other emperors before him had also
acknowledged as their protector.
Arch of Constantine pen & ink 9" x 12"
The Emperor as St. John the Baptist
Claudio IL Gotico (214-270 A.D.)
pen & ink 8" x 8"
The Donation of CONSTANTINE
|Coins from the Age of Constantine
When I began to come across coins like this in the course of a very careful reading
of a 1984 biography of the emperor written by German historian Eberhard Horst,
I started to think about Constantine's self-representation in those days, for
political purposes, and I decided to try my hand at "reading" some of those coins
effigies of both him and his ancestors, in order to compare and contrast those
official images (whether real or politically enhanced) with my own whimsical
sketches for commemorative medals or coins on Page Seven of this series in my
Soon, however, I realized that I wanted to do
more than simply COPY the internet images or
book photos of the old coins. I wanted to first
READ the coins, in much the same way I
studied, in situ, the great Arch, in order to
produce the pen & ink schema of it, pictured
here on the left. (This is a pen & ink reading of
the Arch, then, where I of course recurred to
books and other sources of information to
identify each moment or detail on the
Coin of CLAUDIO IL GOTICO
If Constantine himself is fascinating, so is his own fascination and that of his father, with
an Illyrian-born Roman emperor of the 260s A.D., Claudius II (Claudius Aurelius), whose
historical name he won by a significant defeat of Gothic invaders intent on reaching Rome.
When I read about this figure and how much both Constantine and his father wished to
emulate him that they "created" a familiar linkage to him, the face on the coin literally
begged me to read it, and subsequently draw it. Below are a series of preliminary sketches
in pencil to delineate the main features of the face, and then, once I was satisfied with my
portrait of the portrait, I used of the GRID to enlarge that first sketch onto good Fabriano
paper for a final drawing of the coin face, in pen & ink!
Below is a period coin showing the profile of Constantine's father, one Constanzo Cloro
(his name from the Greek for green, χλωρός , due to his skin coloration). Also born in
modern-day Serbia, then called Illyria, this farmer-stock soldier rose in the ranks and
attained status of co-emperor in the early 300s A.D. The role he played in Constantine's life
is highly significant, since he had fathered Constantine with his concubine, Helena, and
then he had begotten several other sons with an official wife and empress named Teodora.
Reading about Constantine's relationship with his natural father made the latter's figure
extremely interesting, and I was ultimately intrigued by the importance Costanzo Cloro
played not only in Constantine's rising to power but in the life of Helena herself, whom,
since she was a concubine, he had sent off to another court city, to live by herself---for a
time, even away from her beloved Constantine.
Coin of COSTANZO CLORO
COSTANZO CLORO (died 306 A.D.)
pen & ink 10" x 10"