Thursday, May 8, 2014


Palazzo dei Conservatori
Maybe XII century, rebuilt in mid-1400
From 1563 restoration of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564) which was continued in 1564 by Guidetto Guidetti (about 1498/1564) and then by Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602) until 1568
In 1720 Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729) worked on the porch
The now embedded pointed arches still visible on the right side gave access to a large room, the STATUARIO (statuary), the first nucleus of the museum of ancient art
On the right end side "Colossal Head of Constantine" (306/337) found in 1486 with the other eight fragments of the body visible in the courtyard (one hand, two feet, parts of the arms) in the small apse on the west side of the Basilica of Maxentius
It was reshaped from an older portrait, maybe of the deified Hadrian in the Temple of Venus and Rome or of his rival Maxentius and it was part of a acrolith 12 m (40 feet) high
An acrolith was a massive statue with the trunk of the figure made of wood, and the head, hands, and feet made of marble. The wood was concealed either by drapery or by gilding and only the marble parts were exposed to view. Just like all of the statues of antiquity it was painted with bright colors
"The colossal dimension confirm the willingness to spread the image of a superhuman power, distant and unreachable, the details, even realistic, stiffen in a forced symmetry and the expression, the attitude is frozen in an immobility inert, almost hieratic , which recalls the ancient stillness of Eastern portraiture" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Under the portico "Statue of Rome" also known as Roma Cesi between "Barbarian kings prisoners" in grey morato marble dating back to the Hadrian period (117/138) from the Cesi collection, purchased for the museum by Clement XI Albani (1700/21)
"Reliefs of the provinces subject to Rome" from the cell of the Temple of Hadrian
Behind the reliefs of provinces "Hand with finger pointing up" similar to the one on the opposite side of the courtyard. It was found near the church of S. Maria della Consolazione and Filippo Coarelli believes it to be part of the acrolith of Augustus (27 BC/14 AD) in the temple dedicated to him. It is a right hand like that of Constantine with finer workmanship and it would be therefore the original imitated three hundred years later for Constantine's acrolith
Embedded in the wall "Dedicatory inscription of the Arch of Claudius" (41/54) originally on Via del Corso, which celebrates the conquest of Britain
Stuccos on the ceiling with panels "Stories of Rome" and "Stories of the Old and New testament"1575 di Luzio Luzi (about 1509/77) pupil of Perin del Vaga
Two statues of muses: "Urania" muse of astronomy and geometry and "Talia" muse of comedy of the Augustan period from originals of the third century BC
"Portrait of a man" of the Hadrian period (117/138)
"Bust of Athena" from an original of the fourth century BC
Reliefs embedded in the years 1572/73:
"Three reliefs of Marcus Aurelius" (161/180) about 176/180. They probably come from an official monument, maybe an arch dedicated to Marcus Aurelius. Eight other reliefs from the same monument were reused for the Arch of Constantine. From left:
"Mercy" with a gesture of appeasement identical to that of the famous bronze monument
"Victory" with a woman representing Victory crowning him and the Temple of Fortuna. There's an empty space beside him on the chariot due to the cancellation of the image of his son Commodus, who was emperor associated with his father at the time but, after his death, would receive the damnatio memoriae or deletion of all his images
"Religiosity" religious ceremony at the end of the triumph in front of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. On the left the man with the beard is the Genius of the Senate and on the right the building represented is maybe the Tensarium or"garage" for the tensae, a kind of sacred rickshaws used in religious ceremonies
"Entrance of Hadrian in Rome" one of the "Three reliefs of Hadrian" from the Arch of Portugal on Via del Corso. Two of these three reliefs were definitely reused for the Arch of Portugal, and maybe originally came from the arch near the entrance to the Temple of Hadrian, from which the third one definitely came
The other two reliefs of Hadrian are in the SECOND LANDING, "Address by Hadrian in the Forum" and, in the THIRD LANDING, "Apotheosis of Sabina"
Also in the third landing:
"Two inlaid marble panels with tigers" of 331 in opus sectile (inlaid marble) from the Basilica of Junius Bassus
"Youth Male Torso" in red marble from an original of the fifth century BC
"Sarcophagus with marine thiasos (Bacchus parade) and inscription of Promotus" first half of the third century AD
"Inscription" IV/V century AD
To the right of the entrance to the room "Inscription of Sixtus IV" Della Rovere (1471/84) with the act of foundation of the Capitoline Museums in 1471
"Monument to Charles of Anjou" about 1277 Arnolfo di Cambio (about 1245/1302) part of a complex architectural structure, perhaps an honorary monument
Worked as a relief and originally painted with bright colors and decorated with gilding, it was anchored to the wall about two meters (6,5 feet) off the ground, framed by a trefoil arch flanked by two figures in relief of trumpeters
Another fragment of the monument is in the room. Charles of Anjou sits on a faldistorio, a foldable throne without back and with lion heads
"The compact structure of volumes indicates the limit of assimilation of ancient culture by the artist, who comes to a noble archaic form, not separated by a tangible sense of concreteness" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Four "Measures for wine, oil and grains" (called "congi") of the thirteenth century. They were found in Piazza del Campidoglio and they were originally used in the market that used to be held in the square
At the center of the room "Table with scenes from the life of Achilles" reused in the cosmatesque decoration of a pulpit of the church of St. Maria dell'Aracoeli: table of the fourth century AD, cosmatesque panel of the thirteenth century maybe by Lorenzo di Tebaldo with his son Jacopo
"Colossal head of Constantius II (337/361) or Constans" beginning of the fourth century. They were the sons of Costantine
First and most important of the boardrooms of the so-called APPARTAMENTO DEI CONSERVATORI (Conservatives' Apartment) for the judiciary of the Conservatives that had a central role in the municipal structure since mid-1300s
Here meetings were held of the Public Council and of the Secret Council
In this room on March 25, 1957 the TREATY OF ROME, the Treaty establishing the European Community, was signed by representatives from Italy, France, West Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. It was the founding act of the European Union
In this room on October 29, 2004 the CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPE was also signed by representatives of 25 countries, abandoned in 2009 after the referendums in France and the Netherlands that have rejected it
Door with panels richly carved in 1643 with "Scenes of the foundation of Rome" by G.B. Olivieri and Giovanni Maria Giorgetti
Frescoes "Episodes of the beginnings of Rome":
They were designed as imitations of tapestries with in the lower part of the wall, monochrome medallions painted in faux marble representing "Stories of Rome" in connection with the frescoes above
"His painting, in its lovely and erotic-sentimental tendency is between Mannerism and Baroque, and at the same time, exemplary of the ceremonial-representative art at the time of Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605)" (Herwarth Roettgen - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
"In the Battle against Veii and Fidenae with surprising self-confidence the artist manages to get the impression of scrums swaying here and there, while the design of the horses portrayed in so many different movements betrays the avid horseman - such was Cesari in the description of Baglione. The wall painting retains a well-structured character, eye-pleasing, in welcomed contrast with the inextricable tangle of the compositions of Vasari or Salviati in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence" (Hermann Voss)
Marble "Statue of Urban VIII" Barberini (1623/44) 1635/39 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) and assistants
"It was designed by making some significant variations to the model of the great bronze statue of the pontiff made, between 1628 and 1631, for the tomb in the Basilica of St. Peter. If the busy draping of the cope and the robe edged with lace recalls the bronze in the Vatican, the larger gesture with the ample movement of arms and hands, combined with the slight turn of the head, softens the peremptory gesture, returning the marble effigy to a warm aura of urbanity" (Guide to the Capitoline Museums - 2007 Electa)
Bronze "Statue of Innocent X" Pamphilj (1644/55) 1645/50 by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654)
"Instead of suppressing the detailed features as Bernini did, his pope was represented with meticulous care and it is, indeed, a masterpiece of portraiture. Algardi did not accept the hieratic frontality Bernini's Urban VIII. He turned the statue in a more benevolent attitude towards the left; he subsided considerably the long diagonal of the papal hood and turned an energetic and imperious gesture in a movement of countenance and rest. He weakened the power of the blessing arm with the decorative and linear folds of the mantle, while Bernini emphasized the gesture of blessing pushing the arm forward in the space of the spectator" (Rudolf Wittkower)
Coffered ceiling with painted canvas representing "Episodes of the poem La Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered)" maybe by Francesco Allegrini (1587/1663). They were transferred here after 1930 from Palazzo Mattei Paganica before the destruction of the wing where they were originally located
In the center of the room "Basin of fountain" dating back to the imperial period in red marble from the Esquiline Hill
Frescoes on the walls with "Episodes of the Roman Republic":
"Justice of Brutus", "Horatius Cocles at the Sublicius Bridge", "Muzio Scaevola before Porsena" and "Battle of Lake Regillo" 1587/94 by the Sicilian Tommaso Laureti (about 1530/1602) pupil of Sebastiano del Piombo who also conceived with Giambologna, the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna
"Laureti composed here vast scenes inspired by theater, drawing on both the Raphael Rooms and the work of Giulio Romano and increasing the dynamism of the images with bold foreshortening and intense chromaticism. In 1593 the Laureti was among the artists who founded together with Federico Zuccari the Academy of St. Luke and he even succeeded in 1594 to Zuccari as the prince of the Academy. His teaching focused mainly on the tecnique of perspective" (Monica Grasso - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
"Female Bust" about 390 AD
"Funerary Memorial of Virginio Cesarini" 1624 with a beautiful portrait attributed to Bernini or Fran├žois Duquesnoy
Five statues of Captains of the Church:
"Marco Antonio Colonna" ancient statue restored in 1595 with the appearance of the winner of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571
"Alessandro Farnese" 1593 with head sculpted by Ippolito Buzio (1578/1659) and ancient body
"Gianfrancesco Aldobrandini" and "Tommaso Rospigliosi" by Ercole Ferrata (1610/86)
"Carlo Barberini" 1630 with head sculpted by Bernini, arms and legs by Algardi and ancient torso

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