This artistic, whole-body sculpture depicts a Roman gladiator with an upraised arm. A sign is inscribed on the pedestal: Ave Caesar! Morituri, salutant [Long live Caesar! Those who are going to die greet you]. The gladiator is — judging by his props — most likely a retiarius [net-fighter]. He fought with a trident or harpoon made of tuna bones, a dagger, and a net that he threw at his opponent's head. The Polish audience paid particular attention to the Slavic physiognomy of the warrior, seeing a hidden national message in the work of Welonski. Our national consciousness enabled us to see an allegory of the situation of Poles under partition in this classical, thoroughly academic, work. This allegory was found in the fate of a Roman gladiator, whose life depended on his owner.
The portrait of a head comes from a bust of a Roman woman who lived in the mid–3rd century. With a realistic expression of facial features, it depicts a middle-aged woman. The big eyes looking straight and thin, slightly tight lips suggest a firm character. The cheeks are fleshy but with visible zygomatic bones; the jaw is massive, with a clearly marked full chin. The hairdo expresses the fashion at the time, referring to a hairstyle introduced by Julia Domna, the wife of Emperor Septimius Severus.
The Centaur sculpture is a copy of one of two marble sculptures found in Rome in 1736, during excavation works in Hadrian's Villa, but substantially reduced in size. At present, the Furietti Centaurs, named after their discoverer, Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, can be found in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
Nero’s Torches by Henryk Siemiradzki, also called Candlesticks of Christianity, initiated the collection of the National Museum in Kraków. On the painting, the artist immortalised one of the most tragic moments in the history of Christianity, which was the burning of alleged perpetrators of the fire which broke out in Rome during the reign of Nero in 64 AD, described by Suetonius and Tacitus.
On one of the seven hills of Rome – the Esquiline Hill – caves full of ancient paintings were excavated around 1480 under the foundations of medieval buildings. Their walls were decorated with fantastic, light and symmetrical structures created of figural, animal and floral motifs. La grotte, or caves, were in fact ruins of the villa of the Emperor Nero. It was called Domus Aurea because of the extraordinarily rich decoration of the walls and the inner part of the dome, which were covered with gold and paintings. They were created between AD 54 and 68 and related to the turn of the Third Style and Fourth Style of Pompeian painting.
In the 16th century, Rome attracted artists from the North with a series of discoveries of ancient works, as well as with works of the Renaissance masters – Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo. This fascination brought a trend in paintings known as the Netherlandish Romanesque. Its sources were of two kinds.
A treasure of four gold Roman coins from the 5th century AD was found in Witów. It contains three solidi of Emperor Theodosius II (402–450) and one solidus of Emperor Valentinian II (424–455). The first group of coins presents a bust in an armour on the obverse. The name of the emperor is inscribed on the rim — DN THEODOSI-VS P.F. AVG.
The priest of every religion — as a person worthy of leading worship practices and mediating in the contact between people and God (gods) — was an ennobled figure in society. Therefore, priests — as a social class — were distinguished from the common folk by special attire, appropriate to their dignity and the activities represented by them. The current form of the elements of the liturgical vestments for the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, traces its origin back to the beginnings of Christianity. The followers of Christ, due to the dangers of persecution and the poverty of the early church, did not use any official attire accompanying the practice of worship. During prayer, the men had their heads uncovered and the women were veiled. Initially, people celebrating the liturgy did not use special vestments. They used the clothes which were worn by the Romans at that time.