Saturday, May 10, 2014


Ceiling 1568 by Flaminio Bolonger
Frieze "Triumph of the consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus over Perseus king of Macedonia in 167 BC" as described by Plutarch about 1570 Michele Alberti (active 1535/82) and Jacopo Rocchetti pupils of Daniele da Volterra
A magnificent procession accompanying the winner to the Capitol Hill, where, instead of the Temple of Jupiter where traditionally triumphal processions ended at, it is recognizable the new façade of the Palace of the Conservatives that it was being built in those years
"Portrait of a Man" fourth or third century BC, believed to be Junius Brutus the founder of the Roman Republic in 509 BC. Spectacular example of Roman portraiture, featuring marvellous and intense expressionism
"Camillus" classical work of the Augustan age, representing a young man employed during devotional rites (Camillus)
"Spinario" first century BC maybe representing Martius, a shepherd from Vitorchiano, who walked 90 km (56 miles) to warn the Romans of the arrival of an enemy army. A thorn stuck in his foot and after he raised the alarm, he died of the wound. This is maybe the oldest copy of the various existing (Uffizi, Louvre, British Museum, Pushkin Museum), whose head is probably not relevant and it was united to the body in the first century BC, as one would think looking at the hair defying the laws of gravity
On the walls:
"Victory of Alexander the Great over Darius" 1635 by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
"St. Frances of Rome" 1638 by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona
"St. Francis adoring the dead Christ" 1641 by Paolo Piazza (1557/1621)
"Front of sarcophagus" of the third century AD
At the center of the room:
"Bronze Crater of Mithridates VI Eupator" 120/63 BC found the Villa of Nero at Anzio in 1740, part of the spoils from the war against Mithridates in Turkey
Coffered wooden ceiling of 1865
"Mosaic Floor" of the first century AD found in 1893 in Via Nazionale
Frescoes on the left "Triumph of Aemilius Paulus" and on the right "Campaign against the Tolostobogi" 1508/13 by artists from the workshop of Jacopo Ripanda
"Two plaques in honor of Alessandro Farnese and Marcantonio Colonna"
Until the seventeenth century the room was an open loggia and certainly by the sixteenth century there was the bronze statue "Capitoline She-Wolf" believed until recently to have come from Magna Grecia (Southern Italy ruled by Greek) and to be dating back to the V century BC. It is certainly NOT Roman
The scholars that have restored it believe, on the other hand, with good evidence that it is a medieval statue, probably of the XII century AD: not only for the fact that a single casting of bronze, as this piece is made, was not practiced in ancient times (it was used the lost wax casting of various pieces of the statue assembled later) or that the position of the muzzle in all other iconographic representations is always turned backward, but also, and above all, for the analysis using carbon-14 in 2011 that convinced even the skeptics
The twins were added only in the fifteenth century maybe by the Florentine Antonio Benci aka Antonio del Pollaiuolo (about 1432/98)
The documentary evidence tell us that the true symbol of ancient Rome was the EAGLE and in the Middle Ages the symbol became the lion. Only by the end of 1400s the she-wolf became the symbol of Rome
The walls enclosing architecture of Michelangelo Buonarroti "Fragments of consular and triumphal pomp" engraved in the disappeared Parthian Arch of Augustus of 19 BC in the Forum with a list of Consuls from 483 to 19 BC in the panels and a list of Triumphs from 753 to 19 BC in the pilasters
It is a document of inestimable importance for the reconstruction of the history of ancient Rome and it can be considered the most important Latin inscription in the world
Michelangelo had placed it in the courtyard of the palace and it was moved here in 1586
Ceiling and frieze of the time of Paul III Farnese (1534/49) with "Trophies of arms, flowers and fruit, and grotesque decorations" alternate with "Small scenes of ancient Roman games" set in landscapes sometimes real, sometimes fantastic. In one of these the Capitoline Hill Piazza before Michelangelo's modifications is visible with S. Maria in Ara Coeli in the background
"Head of Medusa" by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680). The dating of this masterpiece is debated and it is has been inserted sometime between the years 1630 and 1648 
"The classical myth is revisited in the light of a poem by G.B. Marino: Medusa is looking at her reflection into an imaginary mirror, and she is caught in the moment when, with pain and anguish, she becomes aware of the horrible trick and physically, before our eyes, she turns into marble. Medusa, in Bernini's idea, is a fine Baroque metaphor for sculpture and the power of the sculptor who can leave 'petrified' in amazement those who admire the extraordinary ability of his chisel" (Guide to the Capitoline Museums - 2007 Electa)
"In an essay reworked by Irving Lavin (...) the scholar (...), with unpublished reflections, establishes a closer link between the bust of Constanza Bonarelli, sculpted between 1636 and 1638, and that of Medusa, maybes designed by Bernini as a moral counterpart of the first, both anyway designed as a personal reflection of the artist, and both later donated or sold to others by Bernini himself. According to this new hypothesis the dating of the Bust of Medusa might be slightly predated to the end of the thirties of the seventeenth century" (Web site of the Capitoline Museums -
"Bust of Michelangelo Buonarroti" copy of the one by Daniele da Volterra (1509/66) in the National Museum of Florence, a bronze bust of bigio marble
Ceiling mid-1500s and frieze in panels and medallions about 1544 maybe by Cristofano Gherardi (1508/56) with interesting "Scenes of Rome's monuments" including a view of the Capitol Square with the statue of Marcus Aurelius moved there in 1538
"Statue in marble and bronze of Artemis of Ephesus" from an original of the second century BC: symbol of fruitful nature even though, according to Filippo Coarelli, the breasts are in reality scrotums of bulls
"Statuette of Athena Velletri type" Roman copy of the original of the fifth century BC
"Statuette of an eagle" early imperial period
"Herm of Socrates" first century AD from the original by Lysippus
Ceiling mid-1500s and frieze in panels about 1544 with "Stories of Scipio Africanus" and "Monochromes of famous ancient sculptures" including the Laocoon, Apollo Belvedere, and Hercules in gilded bronze
In 1770 the room was renovated to house the papal throne
Tapestries with "Stories from the History of Rome":
"Romulus and Remus as painted by Rubens" from the painting in the Capitoline's Museums art gallery, "Roma Cesi" from the statue kept in the courtyard of the Palace of the Conservatives, "Vestal Tuccia" and "Bad Teacher of Falerii" 1764/68 from cartons by Domenico Corvi (1721/1803) from Viterbo woven in the factory of the Hospice of St. Michael
It is the only room of the fifteenth century apartment that wasn't changed or modified
Wooden ceiling 1516/19, the oldest of the Palace, with in the center "She-wolf suckling the twins" used as a decorative element and, for the first time, as a symbolic reference to the origins of the city
Frescoes "Stories of the Punic Wars" first decade of the 1500s traditionally attributed to Jacopo Ripanda (about 1465/1516) and assistants, but the attribution is quite disputed among scholars
 These frescoes are the only ones surviving from the first complete decorative cycle of the building, which was also present in the other rooms of the apartment
"Bronze Horse from Vicolo delle Palme" discovered in 1849 during an excavation in Trastevere during which the Apoxyòmenos now in the Vatican Museums was found as well
Recently restored after having been neglected for a long time. It is considered by some to be a Roman copy from an original of the fourth century BC, by others an extraordinary Greek original of the fourth century BC
Filippo Coarelli deemed it part of the "Turma Alexandri" an original work by Lysippus (about 370/300) who had represented Alexander the Great and twenty-five ethers (barons and small local rulers who ruled the mountainous areas of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia) on horseback, died during the battle of the Granicus in 334 BC. The group was made for the sanctuary of Dion in Macedonia and was brought to Rome by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus after his conquest of 146 BC in Macedonia
It is one of the rare examples of ancient large bronze statues still extant. Magnificent natural dynamism and tension for an incredible ancient masterpiece full of epic and Homeric suggestions
It was deconsecrated and closed at the end of 1800s
It was renovated and rebuilt in 2000. It is dedicated to the Virgin and the Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of Rome
In the vault stuccos and frescos "Stories of Sts. Peter and Paul" 1575/78 Michele Alberti (active 1535/82) e Jacopo Rocchetti pupils of Daniele da Volterra
Altar "Sts. Peter and Paul ask Our Lady to protect the city of Rome" on a blackboard 1578 by Marcello Venusti (about 1512/79)
"Frontal of the altar" elaborately inlaid with precious marbles with bees of Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44)
On either side frescoes of saints: "Evangelists" and "Cecilia", "Alexis", "Eustachius" and "Blessed Ludovica Albertoni" 1645/48 maybe by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62)
On the long wall opposite the window, to cover a golden grating formerly communicating with the adjacent Room of the Captains, fresco "Madonna and Child" maybe by Andrea di Assisi or Antonio da Viterbo, from the fifteenth century loggia of the palace
Some 700 artifacts from Etruria, Latium and Magna Graecia dating from the eighth to the fourth century BC donated in 1867 and in 1876 by Augusto Castellani (1829/1914) goldsmith, collector and director of the Capitoline Museums since 1873
"Red-figure Attic kylix with athlete who draws water from a well" first three decades of the fifth century BC in the style of the Painter of Onesimos. The kylix was a cup to drink wine just like we do now from glasses
"Red-figure Attic kylix with pentathlete seen from behind" first three decades of the fifth century BC in the style of the painter of Onesimos
Production of Etruscan Latium region including objects from the so-called Castellani Tomb of Palestrina not really coming, however, from a single tomb: "Biconical bronze" and "Reconstruction of cyst" in silver last thirty years of the eighth century BC
"Oenochoe of Tragliatella" (wine jug) Etruscan-Corinthian, last thirty years of the seventh century BC, found near Lake Bracciano. The polychrome paintings on the oenochoe represent men, women and animals with meanings not entirely clarified, maybe connected to the myth of Theseus and Ariadne
Greek manufacturing objects, including terracotta "Crater with blinding of Polyphemus and naval battle" about seventh century BC signed by Aristonothos
"The intense westward diaspora of families fleeing the Eastern Assyrian pressure had created the conditions for new techniques and iconographic languages were learned directly from Greek masters from the East. The assimilation is not naturally free of trauma and lacerations, the order of the Geometric age is overwhelmed by the furious Eastern trend of narrative matrix, whose more violent and dark contents are, however, gradually exorcised, smoothed and eventually rejected. The clash between figurative Greek order and Eastern monstrosities is expressed clearly in the Greek stories of struggle" (Claudia Lambrugo)
"Terracotta statuette of a seated dignitary" second half of the seventh century BC from the Tomb of the five chairs in Cerveteri
Huge "Fragment of a bronze bull" found in 1849 during an excavation in Trastevere together with the Apoxyòmenos of the Vatican Museums and the bronze horse from Vicolo delle Palme in the Hall of Hannibal. This is probably an original Greek piece of the fourth century BC just like the horse
"Bas-reliefs from the tomb of dogs in Tolfa" in gray tuff, first half of the sixth century BC
"Reconstruction of a tensa" with stories of Achilles in the relief, maybe of the fourth century AD. It was rebuilt by Castellani, who made very subjective reconstructive choices believing it to be a chariot. It was actually a tensa, a kind of rickshaw used during sacred processions in antiquity, so that near the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus there was a building known as Tensarium used as a "garage" for these vehicles
Objects from the archaeological section of about 300 objects from the Collection of the Museum of Industrial Art dispersed in the 50s of the twentieth century among various museums: figurative ceramics of Greek production, buccheri, terracotta statuettes, antefixes from Campania region and silver objects from Boscoreale
Embedded in the walls inscriptions with the names of the civic magistrates in Rome from 1640 until today
Two "Athletes of Velletri" from originals of the second half of the fifth century BC, found in a villa in Arriano, near Velletri
"Erma of Apollo" from original of the fifth century BC
"Fluted column" of marine alabaster
"Statue of an old shepherd" from the Esquiline Hill

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