Sunday, March 27, 2016



1515/20 Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520) for his friend G.B. Branconio chamberlain of Leo X Medici (1513/21)
It was demolished in the seventeenth century to open the new Piazza Rusticucci which took its name from the palace
It was one of the architectural masterpieces of the Renaissance, the archetype of an architectural style derived from ephemeral scenes of parties and theater
“The prestige of the owner suggested to Sanzio a reference to a precise classical model, the exedra of the Trajan's Markets. Correspondence between the virtues of the emperor saved from limbo and the contemporary patron are part of a wider symmetry established between the old Roman Empire and the monarchy of the popes” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

Friday, March 25, 2016



Begun in the years 1879/83 by Gaetano Koch (1849/1910) for Mary Elisabeth Field Princess Brancaccio renovating existing structures consisting of church, convent, orchard and garden of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Clare Mary of the Purification in the Monti neighborhood
1886/90 last and most impressive work by Luca Carimini (1830/90) completed, after his death, in the years 1893/1922 by Carlo Sacconi and Rodolfo Buti
The interiors were designed and furbished in the years 1909/12 by Francesco Gai (1835/1917) with new architectural details, paintings, a nympheum and a coffee-house in the garden
“Gai was an uninhibited decorator, who knew eclectically how to combine the rigor of the classical tradition of the sixteenth and seventeenth century with the unrefined taste of the owners, often undecided between the already dated atmosphere of Paris during the Second Empire, the neo-rococo more Austro-German than French, the temptation for the pagination and refinement of the late Piedmontese Baroque and finally the splendor of the Tuscan and Roman Baroque” (Official website of the museum -
The palace includes the TEATRO BRANCACCIO (Brancaccio Theatre) 1913/16 by Carlo Sacconi
Seat of the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (Italian Institute for Africa and the East) with a library of about 53,000 books and the


National Museum of Oriental Art 'Giuseppe Tucci'
The most important of its kind in Italy. It opened in 1958
It has been dedicated since 2005 to Giuseppe Tucci (1894/1984) one of the greatest scholars of Eastern Art of the twentieth century
It houses objects found by Italian archaeological expeditions in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as items purchased by Giuseppe Tucci in Nepal and Tibet
Ancient Near and Middle East (2 and 3)
The ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, the Iranian plateau and Central Asia are represented by ceramics, bronzes, precious metals and semiprecious stones dating from the sixth millennium BC to the seventh century AD
Sculpture “Queen of Palmyra” third century AD from Syria
Tibetan and Nepalese (4)
Paintings on cloth, metal alloy statues, ritual and everyday use objects, jewelry and furniture parts, from twelfth through nineteenth century
“Polychrome Golden Cup Mina'i” with Iranian knight about twelfth/thirteenth century
Gandhara Art (5 and 8)
The works, mostly from the excavations of the Italian Archaeological Expedition in Pakistan depict scenes from the life and history of previous lives of the Buddha, first/fourth centuries AD
“Maitreya seated in the lotus position” about second/fourth century from Pakistan (formerly Gandhara)
Islamic (1, 6 and 10)
Metals, glass and especially ceramics from Iran, from the early Islamic period to the Qajar (eight/nineteenth centuries) and artifacts from the palace of Mas'ud III at Ghazni in Afghanistan (twelfth century)
Indian (9)
Sculptures from different parts of the Indian subcontinent, which are mainly Brahmanical deities of the pantheon, such as Shiva and Vishnu and images of Buddha and Bodhisattvas dating from the eight to the eighteenth century AD
Southeast Asia, China and Japan (7 and from 11 to 15)
Rich collection of about 4,000 pieces dating from the third millennium BC to the end of the nineteenth century AD shown in rotation
It includes Neolithic vases, archaic ritual vessels, figurines of Buddha and bronze mirrors, paintings, prints, textiles, as well as glazed ceramics and porcelain
“Guanyin” about twelfth century, Chinese sculpture carved in wood with traces of gold
Photographic archives, specialized library, restoration workshop, archive of the eastern collections in Italy, service of bio-archaeology and electronic microscopy

Thursday, March 24, 2016



Begun in 1560 by Jacopo Barozzi aka Vignola (1507/73) for the Della Genga family
In 1586 it was bought by Cardinal Pietro Deza who employed Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91) to continue the construction
Completed in the years 1605/14 by Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613) for Cardinal Camillo Borghese who became Pope Paul V (1605/21). Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) also worked on the project
“Inside the Palazzo Borghese, the arrangement of the doors, which allow in the side facing the Piazza Borghese, to see a succession of nine consecutive environments and at the far end, framed in the escape of doors, a particular image of the garden is evidence of an attentiveness to illusive optical values, which reveals the orientation of Ponzio toward a Baroque trend” (Paolo Portoghesi)
It is known as the clavicembalo (harpsicord) for its shape and it is one of the largest palaces of Rome
In the famous FAÇADE TOWARDS THE RIVER TIBER 1612/14 by Flaminio Ponzio, corresponding to the “keyboard” of the great harpsichord, there is a PORTAL built in the years 1671/75 by Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91)
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this palace was considered one of the four wonders of the city along with the Palazzo Farnese, the Caetani stairs in Palazzo Ruspoli and the gate of Palazzo Sciarra
It is in part the office of the Spanish Embassy and of the Hunting Club
Designed by Martino Longhi the Elder with two rows of arches supported by “Ninety-six wonderful columns in pairs” and “Ancient statues” including some that adorned the stage of the Theatre of Pompey
“Bath of Venus” and fountains by Giovanni Paolo Schor (1615/74) and Carlo Rainaldi
Superb paintings representing the “Four Continents” by Ludovico Stern (1709/77), his masterpiece
Ludovico Stern (son of Ignazio Stern) served with almost no interruption from 1748 to 1777 for the Prince Paolo Borghese Aldobrandini
“He worked for patrons of the utmost importance and became the most popular painter of altarpieces. Of high rank, although limited in number, was also the decorative cycles for noble residences, culminating in his masterpiece, the four paintings in Palazzo Borghese. His mature style, finally, presents characteristics of refinement of color, essentiality of stroke and simplicity of composition that place him along a line in Roman art of late eighteenth century leading up to Giuseppe Cades, Antonio Cavallucci and Domenico Corvi” (Francesco Petrucci -
Frescoes by the Roman Ciro Ferri (1634/89), by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606/80) from Bologna, by Domenico Corvi (1721/1803) from Viterbo and by the Venetian Paolo Piazza (1557/1621)
Fresco in the ground floor “Birth of Venus” by Gaetano Lapis (1706/76)
The huge collection of paintings was transferred in 1891 to the Casino Borghese
Part of the building (about 1,000 square meters) was owned by the entrepreneur Vittorio Cecchi Gori from whom it was confiscated in 2009 following the bankruptcy of the football team Fiorentina of which he was president

Wednesday, March 23, 2016



1886/90 Gaetano Koch (1849/1910) for Rodolfo Boncompagni Ludovisi after the Boncompagni Ludovisi Palace in Piazza Colonna had been destroyed
Also known as Palazzo Piombino for the principality of Piombino in Tuscany belonging to the Boncompagni Ludovisi family or as Palazzo Margherita because it was the residence of Queen Margherita of Savoy, mother of King Victor Emmanuel III
She lived here after the death in 1900 of her husband and cousin King Umberto I (sovereign of Italy from 1878 to 1900) until 1924
The Savoy family had bought the palace from the Boncompagni Ludovisi in financial difficulties
On the occasion of a visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy in Naples, the Neapolitan pizza makers invented PIZZA MARGHERITA with the colors of the Italian flag: mozzarella for white, tomato for red and basil for green
It is the seat of the U.S. embassy since 1931
At the center of the hall “Nude Venus” by the Flemish sculptor Jean Boulogne aka Giambologna (1529/1608)
“The building, in eclectic mold, is the result of the research project of Koch, who experiences a form of abstract neoclassicism, derived from the work of Sangallo, where the architectural elements of classical derivation are subject to an intensive work of figurative simplification” (Giorgio Muratore)

Palazzo Grande di Villa Ludovisi

Great Palace of Villa Ludovisi
Incorporated and leaning against the back of Palazzo Boncompagni
Beginning 1600, maybe by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) or Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641) for Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi nephew of Gregory XV Ludovisi (1621/23)

Saturday, March 19, 2016



1658/65 Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616/95) for Giuseppe and Benedetto D'Aste
“Only the Borromini-inspired rounded corners and the pure, unorthodox arrangement in three rows, which includes the four sides are mildly progressive. All the decorations, including the curved pediments of the windows, are quite simple. Confidentiality and an immaculate sense of proportion are the virtues of this style. The intelligent fusion carried out by Rossi of the decorative details inspired by Pietro da Cortona and Francesco Borromini and the transformation of this into a personal idiom relatively light and pleasant foretold his important part in the development of the architecture of the eighteenth century” (Rudolf Wittkower)
In 1760 it was sold to the Marquis Ranuccini of Florence
From 1818 it belonged to Letizia Bonaparte, Napoleon's mother, who lived and died here in 1836
She notoriously used to peep through the famous corner balcony, known in Italian as mignano
In 1972 it became the property of the Assicurazioni d'Italia (Insurance of Italy)

Friday, March 18, 2016



1888/89 Luca Carimini (1830/90)
Last palace to be built for noble Roman families, along with Palazzo Brancaccio also by Carimini
It is now the headquarters of the ISTITUTO POLACCO DI ROMA (Polish Roman Institute) whose main objective is the dissemination of the culture and history of Poland, as well as the fostering of dialogue between Poland and Italy in the field of culture, education, research and social life
On the ground floor there is the excellent ANTONINI PASTRY SHOP, formerly Ruschena
“Carimini was among those who posed the problem of inventing a style befitting the new buildings of Rome new Italian Capital. From a first love for the Middle Ages, he passed to a strong interest in the architecture of the fourteen hundreds, finally locating in Sangallo (the Younger), one of great inspirations for an architecture apt to the new task of the city. He had a great sensitivity for materials, a direct result of his beginnings as a stonemason, and he used it both in his religious and civic architecture. (...) It has been reported that the activity of Carimini should be seen in the so-called 'clerical wing' of Roman architecture, with his late adoption of that primitive fourteen hundreds style that had emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. Among other technicians close to the papal court (Busiri and Vespignani) he is described as a belated exponent of purism in architecture” (Cultural Association Itinera -

Thursday, March 17, 2016



It was built in the sixteenth century
It belonged to the Rustici and Olgiati families for whom it was renovated by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629)
In mid-1600s it passed to the Strozzi family from whom it was expropriated in 1882 by the Italian government to build Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
It was radically changed but the PORTAL at nº 26 built by Carlo Maderno in 1620 was kept
Since 1905 it belonged to the economist Marco Besso who housed in it an important cultural center and seat of the Foundations Ernesta and Marco Besso with a library of about 75,000 volumes about Dante Alighieri, Rome and studies about Italian proverbs
After some restoration in the gallery facing the church of SS. Stimmate di S. Francesco (SS. Stigmata of St. Francis) a frieze was discovered recently with “Eight virtues” and “Villages with hermits” 1606 by Tarquinio Ligustri (about 1563/1621) from Viterbo
“The exaltation of the life of a hermit, defined here as a peaceful relationship between the man of faith and a hospitable nature, is linked to S. Lucia Filippini's religiosity, to which the landlord had been particularly close. The demonstrated attribution to Ligustri of these landscapes will to do some clarity in the complex panorama of landscape painting in Rome at the beginning of the seventeenth century, often generically considered pertaining the school Brill” (Maria Barbara Guerrieri Borsoi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Friday, March 11, 2016



Designed in 1660 by Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) for Monsignor Virginio Spada, Commander of the Bank of St. Spirit
He would have liked the palace to become the headquarters of the bank against the advice of the board of the bank
At his death in 1667 the Spada family was forced to buy the palace and the old Palazzo della Zecca (Palace of the Mint) by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger was chosen as the headquarters of the bank instead
Transformed and raised in late 1800s by Gaetano Koch (1849/1910) for the Bennicelli Counts
Traces of the seventeenth-century Borromini's work remain only in the courtyard
Count Adriano Bennicelli (1860/1925) was a very popular character in Rome at the time of king Humbert I and was nicknamed Conte Tacchia
“Tacchia” in Roman dialect is a piece of wood and the nickname refers to the activity of the Bennicelli family who had become rich by trading in timber. He was a very peculiar kind of person, famous for the contrast between his elegant appearance and his very vulgar attitudes

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Other Works in the Museum Storage

“St. Sebastian between Onorato II and Pietro Bernardino Caetani d'Aragona” about 1481 by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniozzo Romano (about 1435-40/1508)
“This painting on board is revealing of the versatility of Antoniazzo in different areas of his artistic production (...): a versatility that is expressed in the production of frescoes as well as in the paintings for private devotion or in the sceneries for religious events, always accommodating the needs of his clients, using an entrepreneurship approach which is probably the main reason for the difficulty of rebuilding the catalog of the artist. (...) The painting in Palazzo Barberini synthesizes, for example, his familiarity with the tradition of icons and his knowledge of classical art, evident in the vivid representation of St. Sebastian, and at the same time suggests the skills of the painter for portraits and landscape compositions. (...) The setting is similar to the plain of Fondi and the mountain in the background was recently recognized as being Monte Sant'Angelo near Terracina” (Daniele Ferrara)
“Juno and Argus” by the so-called Maestro della Betulla (Master of the Birch) (active 1630/40)
“Allegory of Peace” maybe by Simon Vouet (1590/1649)
“Sacrifice of Isaac” about 1625 by Orazio Riminaldi (1593/1630)
“Rest on the Flight into Egypt” about 1640 by Angelo Caroselli (1585/1652)
“The Flight into Egypt” about 1625 by Andrea Ansaldo (1584/1638)
“Judith and Holofernes” about 1636 by the Florentine Francesco Furini (1603/46)
“Influenced by Guido Reni, he produced paintings of soft sensuality. The tones of flesh made with ultramarine blue and shaded to give his pictures a sweet taste, soft, but no one can deny that he had a special gift to play the melodic line of the body women, thus revealing its attachment to the Mannerist tradition” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“Still Life with Tuberous Root” maybe by Luca Forte (about 1600/70)
“Cain and Abel” by Pietro Novelli aka Monrealese (1603/47)
“Samson and Delilah” by the Dutchman Matthias Stom (about 1600/50)
“The doughnut maker” 1630 by the so-called Bamboccio (Puppet) Pieter Van Laer (about 1595/1642)
“Country scene” and “Figures in a tree lined road” about 1640/50 landscapes by Angeluccio (fl. 1640/50) and figures by Michelangelo Cerquozzi (1602/60)
Four gouache on paper for Cardinal Francesco Barberini's tapestries now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art:
“Constantine destroying idols”, “Naval Battle of Crispus against Abate”, “Constantine kills the lion” and “Constantine burns the Decretals” about 1631 by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)

“The massacre of Niobe” 1638/39 and “The Hunt of Diana” 1638/39 by Andrea Camassei (1602/49)

Four anamorphosis: “Portrait of Louis XIII”, “St. Francis of Paola”, “Scene of Marriage” and “Louis XIII before the crucifix” about 1635 by Jean François Niceron (1613/46)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Room XXXIV - Artistic Presence in Northern Italy between 1600s and 1700s

Oval “Satyr and Cupid” about 1742/45 by G.B. Tiepolo (1696/1770)
“His art is the ultimate expression of the great European rococo, of international dimension and a triumph of painting skills from which the subsequent developments of painting, even with the new neoclassical style, would not prescind” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Portrait of a young smoker” about 1736 by Giacomo Cerruti aka Pitocchetto (1698/1768)
“It's a kind of representation that is separated from the moral implications of the pauperism genre and from the human depth of the portrait. (...) It is interesting to compare this portrait, which has the characteristics of everyday life pose and clothing, combined with a background city which shows the working life and everyday life, with the conception of the portrait of courtly parade, which prevails in Rome and includes archaeological elements to symbolize the cultural and antiquarian interests of the sitters, in a context that is intended to be emblematic and away from everyday life” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Allegory of architecture” by the Bolognese Giuseppe Maria Crespi aka the Spanish (1665/1747)
“It features the image with a contrast between the dark shadow of the background and the relief given by the diagonal light that strikes the figure” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Beheading of St. John the Baptist” by Pierre Louis Cretey (about 1635/about 1702)
“Bacchanal” by Giulio Carpioni (about 1613/78)
“St. Bruno” and “Hermits at Prayer” by the Genoese Alessandro Magnasco (1667/1749)
“The disintegration of the figure in the fast and light touches of the brush suggest immediacy of execution and design, but the popularity of this kind of compositions of the painter is documented by the large number of variants that are known of this theme on which he practiced especially in the years between 1710 and 1720” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
Beautiful pastels “Portrait of a Young Woman” and “Portrait of a Young Man” by the great Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera (1675/1757)
“She worked for the major European courts specializing in the technique of pastel portrait, in which she showed extraordinary abilities. In Rome she was received in the Academy of St. Luke in 1705. (...) To the pastel technique that allows subtle nuances of colors, the artist combines the sensibility of touch which transfigure delicacy of feeling in the transparency of the material, making clear the inner feelings of the characters portrayed, a technique that left a determining imprint in French painting for artists such as Liotard” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Portrait of a Lady indoors” by Pietro Longhi (1701/85) and his son Alessandro Longhi (1733/1813)
“Young woman crying” and “Young woman laughing” by Pietro Antonio Rotari (1707/62) from Verona
“These paintings are part of the painter's rich production of female heads, reproducing usually a state of mind according to a sentimental typology. These half-figures 'of expression' were so successful that Catherine II, the Russian empress, after the painter's death, bought from his widow the entire production of this kind. Rotari produced about 250 works of this kind during his stay in Russia between 1756 and 1762 collected by the Russian nobility as well as the Empress. (...) He keeps a range of soft feelings and passages of mood with expressions only hinted pathetically” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Portrait of a Man” and “Portrait of the painter Antonio Cifrondi” by Vittore Ghislandi aka Fra' Galgario (1655/1743)
“If you compare the portraits of Ghislandi, which also often have an official quality with the parade portraits of the Roman school, from Maratta to Batoni, the difference that appears immediately is the most effective and detached description of the psychological nature of the sitter, even if it affects the officiality of the image at the expense of feelings and expression. Ghislandi also utilizes the power of color, which he incorporates from Venetian models, rather than the magnificence of the details, in order to emphasize the image” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
East wing of the second floor
Beautifully decorated in the years 1750/70 in rococo style for Cornelia Costanza Barberini who married a member of the noble family Sciarra Colonna when she was twelve
The last descendant of the Barberini lived here until her death in 1960, although the building was owned by the state since 1947
In addition, section of decorative arts of the eighteenth century with costumes, furniture and porcelain

Monday, March 7, 2016


Room XXXIII - Fabrizio and Fiammetta Lemme Donation. Designing Great Art

Preparatory sketches for paintings on canvas in the nave of St. Clement executed in the years 1711/16 including “Glory of St. Clement” by Giuseppe Chiari (1654/1727) for the ceiling of the church
“As it has been pointed out, the central figure is derived from the assumption of Annibale Carracci in S. Maria del Popolo, but the reference point is the Allegory of Mercy painted by Carlo Maratta in Palazzo Altieri in 1676. Fidelity to the text of his teacher borders here on plagiarism, or perhaps indicates the use of the original cartoons, in the group of two putti supporting the anchor down” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Stories of St. Clement and St. Ignatius of Antioch” for the walls of the church by some of the best painters in Rome in the second decade of 1700s:
“Death of S. Servolo” by Tommaso Chiari (1665/1773) brother of Giuseppe
“Among the works of this cycle it is one of those that show 'more intensely maratta-like' features. With a composition of light classical approach proposing 'in decidedly eighteenth century tone, the golden language of Raphael'. The peculiar character of this sketch that marks also other works by De Pietri (for example, the Madonna and Child with Saints in S. Maria in Via Lata) is this intimate aspect, and it is one of the most original outcomes of Maratta's period' (Casale)” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)

“Martyrdom of St. Clement” by Giovanni Antonio Grecolini (1675/1725)
“Translation of the body of St. Clement” by Giovanni Odazzi (1663/1731)
“The sketch shows less freshness than the final version as a fresco. Some indecisions show up affecting mainly the faces of St. Clement and the prelate behind. The prelate knelt before the body of St. Clement recalls a figure of G.B. Gaulli, the St. Nicholas, in the altarpiece in St. Mary Magdalene, which inspired Odazzi some other times as well” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Trajan condemning St. Ignatius of Antioch” by Giovanni Domenico Piastrini (1678/1740)
“St. Ignatius of Antioch meets St. Polycarp in Smyrna” by Giacomo Triga (1674/1746) pupil of Benedetto Luti
“Giacomo Triga, little-known pupil of Benedetto Luti, a virtuoso of the Pantheon, worked for the Patrizi and the Theodoli families, and in some Roman churches such as the Basilica of Sts. John and Paul, St. Francis of Paola and S. Marcello al Corso” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch” by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674/1755)
“As Casale mentioned, this painting by Ghezzi in the Clementine series is presented as 'the less academic and more whimsical of the group' and 'hard to the limits of unpleasantness. But original' due 'to an compositional vehemence impatient of conventions and rules of composition” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Miracle of St. Clement in the Crimea” by Sebastiano Conca (1680/1764)
“It has been emphasized the differentiation of this sketch from the rest of the series for both the bright colors with respect to the general preference for crayon-like colors, and for the adoption of a small size that allows the presence of several figures without creating a scrum. ( ...) It as also noted by Casale (1998) that it is the masterpiece of the clementine series, a work in which the author reconciles the update on Maratti's reforms with a style that 'shows an early Rococo expression' (Sestieri)” (Francesca Mochi Onori)
The “Abandonment of Moses” and the “Sacrifice of Isaac” by Domenico Corvi (1721/1803) from Viterbo
They are models for the paintings in the side chapel of the Virgin of Seven Sorrows in S. Marcello al Corso, showing with their bright colors the influence of Corrado Giaquinto's painting
Extraordinary “Assumption of the Virgin” by Ludovico Mazzanti (1686/1775) a Gaulli's student, sketch for the 1720 fresco on the ceiling of the left transept of S. Ignatius
“Death of S. Joseph” 1712 by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746) from Istria
It is a study for the altarpiece of the second chapel on the right in the church of St. Ignatius
Sketch of “Last meeting of Sts. Peter and Paul” for the 1766 canvas in the church of S. Lucia al Gonfalone, and preparatory sketch of '“Adoration of the Magi”, a work in S. Giuseppe alla Lungara, by the Sicilian Mariano Rossi (1731/1807)
“In the Last meeting of Sts. Peter and Paul mix, in a studied intersection of levels that follow the development of the action, relations with the work of Corrado Giaquinto but, as Giancarlo Sestieri pointed out, in an 'extreme simplification of form, based on an essentially linear conciseness' and 'developed especially in the footsteps of Marco Benefial and Francesco Mancini'“ (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Allegories of the four elements: water, air, fire and earth” 1767/68 by the Roman Stefano Pozzi (1699/1768) for the lunettes of the vault of a Cabinet in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj