Marble bust of Nero's head, looking straight forward.

27 May – 24 October 2021

10.00–17.00 (Fridays 20.30)

Room 30

The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery

Members free

Booking is currently open for dates up to 25 July.

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Nero is known as one of Rome's most infamous rulers, notorious for his cruelty, debauchery and madness.

The last male descendant of the emperor Augustus, he succeeded to the throne in AD 54 aged just 16 and died a violent death at 30. His turbulent rule saw momentous events including the Great Fire of Rome, Boudicca’s rebellion in Britain, the execution of his own mother and first wife, grand projects and extravagant excesses.

Drawing on the latest research, this major exhibition questions the traditional narrative of the ruthless tyrant and eccentric performer, revealing a different Nero, a populist leader at a time of great change in Roman society.

To ensure social distancing and a safe and welcoming environment, everyone – including Members – will need to book a free, timed exhibition entry in advance for visits up to 25 July. 

As the roadmap out of lockdown progresses, we'll release further dates in early July if booking is still required. If your preferred date is fully booked or not available, please contact the Membership Office at

If you're a new Member and don't yet have your Membership number, you can still book your free entry online by entering your purchase reference number at the checkout. Read the Membership FAQs page for any queries about your visit, or contact us at

To ensure Members have the best experience, we're offering a range of Members-exclusive early morning and late night viewings. We'll continue to offer online events and content for you to explore the exhibition from the comfort of your own home.

We hope to welcome you back soon.

Discover Nero

Through some 200 spectacular objects, from the imperial palace in Rome to the streets of Pompeii, follow the young emperor's rise and fall and make up your own mind about Nero. Was he a young, inexperienced ruler trying his best in a divided society, or the merciless, matricidal megalomaniac history has painted him to be?

Contact the Membership office

Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8195

Opening times 
Monday–Friday: 10.00–16.00
Closed: weekends and bank holidays

Visit the Membership FAQs for the latest information.