Friday, April 29, 2016


The Giustiniani Bandini and the Brancaccio families
 “Portraits of Giuseppe Massani and his wife Elena Battistini” 1825/30 by an unknown nineteenth-century artist
“Graphite and pastel portrait of Giovanna Massani” about 1840 by Filippo Agricola (1795/1857)
“Bust of Maria Massani” about 1838 maybe by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770/1844)
Three paintings representing the Princess Elizabeth Brancaccio 1879, 1884 and 1886 by Francesco Gai (1835/1917)
“Self-Portrait” 1916 by Francesco Gai
Prints and Photographs
The photographic portrait
Collection of photos and nineteenth-century clothing
G.B. Piranesi (1720/78), Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781/1835) and his son Achille Pinelli (1809/41) also the author of about 200 watercolors kept in the storage of museum representing façades of churches and Roman painted in the years 1826/35
Gipsoteca Pietro Tenerani (1798/1869)
Received as a donation to the museum in 1940
Collection of models and plaster models of busts, reliefs, statues full-length and monumental groups
“It illustrates almost all the production of the sculptor, a pupil of Bertel Thorvaldsen, participating in the climate of figurative renewal in the early decades of the century, based on the recovery of formal simplicity and ethical values of the primitive painting and Raphael, which will be encoded in the theoretical program of the Manifesto of Purism of 1842” (Brief Guide to the Museum of Rome)
Other Works in the Museum Storage
About 2,000 ceramics, about 1,000 books, about 600 pieces of antique furniture and about 1400 fragments from demolished Roman buildings including “Three fragments of mosaic” from the ancient Basilica of St. Peter
Tapestries and fabrics, including the “Six tapestry series of the Seasons with children gardeners” by the Gobelin manufactory from cartoons by Charles Le Brun (1619/90) the decorator of Versailles
Sheets of architects such as Filippo Juvarra (1678/1736), Nicola Salvi (1697/1751) and Luigi Vanvitelli (1700/73)
Terra cotta models including:
Several by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680), including one for the statue of “St. Longinus” in St. Peter
Models by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654) and Melchiorre Caffà (1636/67)
A model by Camillo Rusconi (1658/1728) for the statue of Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85)
A model by Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768) for a monument to Clement XII Corsini (1730/40)
A model for the bust of St. Charles Borromeo by Ercole Ferrata (1610/86)
Hundreds of paintings including:
“Orsini Family” by Marco Benefial (1684/1764)
“Crucifixion” 1671/72 maybe by Guillaume Courtois aka Borgognone (1628/79), the painting that Bernini wanted in front of him on his deathbed
It was in the Bernini family until 1986 when he entered the collections of the museum
“Both of the first biographers of Gian Lorenzo Bernini give news of the commission of a painting inspired by the design of the 'Blood of Christ', a work created by the artist meditation on the mystical vision that the newly canonized Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi had in 1585. Baldinucci writes that 'He wanted this pious meditation being even painted for him on a large canvas, which he always wanted to keep in the face of his bed in life and in death'“ (Gaia Bindi)
“Deposition” by Vincenzo Camuccini 1833 (1771/1844)
“Pius IX walking around the Garden of Pincio Hill” about 1864 by Pio Joris (1843/1921)
In the collection of the museum there are also paintings by Joshua Reynolds (1723/92), Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta (1521/80), Polidoro Caldara aka Polidoro da Caravaggio (about 1495/1543), Vincenzo Pacetti (1746/1820) and Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


The Torlonia family
Works that used to decorate the now destroyed Palazzo Torlonia on Piazza Venezia
Five large charcoal drawings of mythological subjects: “Titanomachy”, “The Rape of Proserpina”, “The Toilette of Venus”, “Judgment of Paris” and “Rape of Europa” about 1837
“Alessandro Torlonia taken to the Temple of Glory” about 1886 all works by Francesco Podesti (1800/95)
Mural painting “Triumph of Hercules” about 1839 by Francesco Coghetti (1801/75)
Mural painting “Trionfo di Venere” about 1836/37 maybe by Pietro Gagliardi (1809/90)
“Antonio Canova shows Giovanni and Anna Maria Torlonia the sketch of Hercules and Lica” about 1811 maybe by Antonio Canova himself
Twelve lunettes from the destroyed Apollo Theater with “The Months” 1839 by Filippo Bigioli (1798/1898)
Charcoal Drawing preparatory to the fresco of the Villa Torlonia Carolina at Castel Gandolfo “Apollo and the Hours” about 1844 by Pietro Gagliardi (1809/90)
Incomplete reconstruction of the reception hall that preceded the alcove itself destroyed in the Palazzo Torlonia in Piazza Venezia with paintings “Judgment of Paris” and “Loves of the Gods” 1837 by Filippo Bigioli and stuccos such as “Medallions with stories of Psyche” by Pietro Galli (1804/77), a pupil of Bertel Thorvaldsen
“Plaster portrait of Anna Maria Torlonia” by Adamo Tadolini (1788/1868)

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The Rospigliosi family
Extraordinary “Model of the Chapel Pallavicini Rospigliosi in S. Francesco a Ripa church” about 1712 by Nicola Michetti (about 1675/1758)
“Portraits of child masked” (maybe Pietro Banchieri, son of the nephew of Clement IX Rospigliosi - 1667/69) about 1668 maybe by Pierre Ronche
“Equestrian Portrait of Camillo Rospigliosi” 1737 by Agostino Masucci (1691/1758)
“The choice of the equestrian portrait, while recalling courtly models of the seventeenth century, from Rubens to Van Dyck, in the exact description of the gait of the horse, its harness and Camillo's special clothing, is a faithful document of the art of riding in this period” (Brief Guide to the Museum of Rome)
Various “Portraits of horses” by Johan Reder (1656/1764)
Decoration of the room and clothes influenced by eighteenth-century fashion and passion for Chinese décor
“Automatic Organ with cylinders” about 1820/30 by the Viennese Anton Beyer, an extraordinary grandfather of a jukebox

Friday, April 22, 2016



The Barberini Family

“Banner with paintings about St. Francis” 1612 by Guido Reni (1575/1642)
“Joust in Piazza Navona” about 1634 by the great painter from Nettuno Andrea Sacchi (1599/1661) and by the Roman Filippo Gagliardi (about 1607/1659) aka Filippo Bizzarro o Filippo delle Prospettive
Interestingly, in this image of Piazza Navona of the first half of the seventeenth century, Palazzo Braschi, Palazzo Pamphilj, the church of S. Agnese in Agone and even the Fountain of the Four Rivers don't appear, not having been built yet
“Parade at Palazzo Barberini” about 1656 by Filippo Gagliardi and Filippo Lauri (1623/94)
“Tapestry with Barberini bees” and painting “Constantine destroys the pagan gods” about 1636 maybe by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
Medals from the Barberini collection
Busts of members of the Barberini family or of members of their entourage:
“Carlo Barberini” about 1630 by Francesco Mochi (1580/1654)
Carlo Barberini was the older brother of Pope Urban VIII (1623/44) appointed by him commander of the papal troops
“Bust of Cardinal Giulio Gabrielli” after 1694/before 1700 by Giuseppe Mazzuoli (1644/1725)
“Bust in marble of Cardinal Antonio Barberini junior” about 1680 maybe by Lorenzo Ottoni (1648/1736)
Nephew of Pope Urban VIII, patron of memorable and spectacular parties often produced by none other than Gian Lorenzo Bernini
“Pupil in Rome of the sculptor Lorenzo Ottoni, Cametti attended his studio for fifteen years. Towards the end of this period, or immediately after, he had at his disposal a studio in the Academy of France in Rome, an extraordinary fact for an Italian artist, which explains, at least partly, the remarkable influence French sculpture had on his artistic evolution, especially the art of Pierre Etienne Monnot and Pierre Le Gros” (Robert Engass - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Microcosm of Beauty
Engravings and miniatures in plaster
Four statues: “Farnese Hercules”, “Danaide”, “Melpomene” and “Faun” by Giovanni Volpato (1735/1803)
Terracotta statue “Achilles dragging the body of Hector” 1833 by Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781/1835)
“Portrait of Caterina Giustiniani” about 1815/20 by Gaspare Landi (1756/1830)
“Portrait of the engraver Pietro Girometti” about 1831 by Francesco Podesti (1800/95)
“Portrait of the painter Francesco Podesti” 1870 by Francesco Gai (1835/1917)
Francesco Gai was a pupil of Francesco Podesti, married his nephew Guendolina and helped him in his great work which lasted nine years in the Room of the Immaculate Conception in the Vatican
“Self-Portrait” by Pietro Gagliardi (1809/1990)

The Code of Fashion

Eighteenth century ceremony clothes for men and women

Monday, April 18, 2016


Artists in Rome
“Self-portrait with family” about 1709 by Giuseppe Chiari (1654/1727)
“The clear and measured forms, defined on the basis of the proportions of classical statuary, and the subtle interpretation of faces and feelings placed the portrait in the more mature production of Roman neoclassicism, derived from the portraits of Anton Raphael Mengs and Pompeo Batoni. (...) Even the choice of clothing (...) seems to allude to the refusal of contemporary social codes, in an atmosphere of brotherhood intellectual precursor of instances of the nineteenth century” (Rossella Leone)
Plaster sculpure “Self-Portrait” about 1799 and painting “Portrait of the Vitali Family” about 1790/98 by Antonio Canova (1757/1822)
“The plaster bust is the original model of the great self-portrait of Antonio Canova (1812), placed in the sarcophagus of the Temple of Possagno dedicated to him. The work, which comes from the study of his favorite pupil, Adamo Tadolini, lets see the 'spots' for the translation in marble and provides an idealizing image of the artist, destined to be handed down to posterity. From the bust, characterized by the look to the sky and the half-open mouth, almost in an otherworldly dimension, were taken several copies that the sculptor gave to friends and admirers” (Official website of the Museo di Roma -
“Bust of Luigi Gonzaga of Castiglione” 1776 and “Bust of the poet Maria Maddalena Morelli Fernandez” 1776 by the Irishman Christopher Hewetson (about 1739/1797)
“Portrait of the doge Michelangelo Cambiaso” about 1792 by the Viennese Anton Von Maron (173/1808)
“Self-Portrait” about 1766 by Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700/77)
“Portrait of Catherine Bishopp” 1757 by Joshua Reynolds (1723/92)
“He also distinguished himself as a portraitist, required by the most distinguished foreign guests, especially English. He inaugurated the kind of portrait of the Enlightenment, by portraying the character in an elegant pose, random only in appearance, in the background of landscapes and fragments of the ancient world. He was admired by the English artists, especially Joshua Reynolds, who was in Batoni's studio in Rome between 1750 and 1752” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Self-Portrait of Pompeo Batoni” about 1774/87 copy by an unknown artist of the studio of Pompeo Batoni from the original self portrait of the great master of the eighteenth century
“Portrait of Giacinta Orsini” (arcade poet who died in childbirth only nineteen years old) 1757/58 copy of Teresa Tibaldi from original by Pompeo Batoni
“Portrait of G.B. Piranesi” by Pietro Labruzzi 1779 (1738/1805)
“In line with the circle of artists who worked for Pius VI (...) during the eighties, his painting style became increasingly dramatized, opening up to a palette of tones bright and earthy - it was the same chromatic path of Domenico Corvi - and to restless faces with emphatic accents of expressionism” (Francesco Leone - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
“Roman and Flemish Artists in a tavern” by the so-called Bamboccio Pieter Van Laer (about 1595/1642)
Extraordinary painting “St. Camillus de Lellis rescues the sick at the S. Spirito Hospital during the flood of the Tiber in 1598” 1746 by the French Pierre Subleyras (1699/1749). It was painted on the occasion of the ceremony of canonization of St. Camillus de Lellis
 “Painted at the time of full artistic maturity of the artist, the image is one of the highest synthesis between the ideal of classical forms and proportions and the representation of events and real emotions. Nobility of the faces, simplified according to formulas Raphael, gestures composed and without emphasis, accompany the drama of the episode that culminates in the left half-naked body of the patient to the right, alluding to a sacred deposition. (...) The obvious derivation from the group of Aeneas and Anchises by Federico Barocci resolves in a classic and heroic key the uplifting intent this picture of canonization was intended for” (Rossella Leone)

Friday, April 15, 2016


The City of Rome
The Roman Senate
Finery belonging to nineteenth-century senators of Rome
The City of the Grand Tour
Views of Rome in the second half of 1700 and early 1800:
“Campo Vaccino” about 1780 and the “Temple of Fortuna Virile” about 1780 Abraham Louis Rodolphe Ducros and Giovanni Volpato (1735/1803)
“Piazza S. Maria del Pianto” about 1840 by the Englishman John Ruskin (1819/1900)
“Via di Porta Pinciana” 1685/90 by Gaspar Van Wittel (1622/74)
“The paintings were made to commemorate the most important ceremony which took place in Rome after the French occupation and the proclamation of the Jacobin Republic on February 10, 1798: the Feast of the Federation which was celebrated on the 20th of March. Felice Giani, describes the complex choreography of military parades, along Rome, occupying the symbolic places of the papal city. The second image documents the final event, held in St. Peter's Square, the arrival of the troops on horseback directed toward the Altar of Homeland and preceded by the row of deputies and representatives of the departments. With an evocative style, rich in descriptive details, the table demonstrates the participation of the artist, fervent revolutionary to the propaganda initiatives of the French government” (Official website of the Museo di Roma -
Urban settings
“Cabinet with drawers and eighteen views of Rome” known as studiolo, end of seventeenth century, in carved and gilded wood and painted parchment
“Capriccio with the Arch of Titus” second half of the seventeenth century by Viviano Codazzi (1604/70)
“As for Alessandro Magnasco, tiny figures are distributed in an animated space, but to his rapid style and to his popular subjects the Roman painters, who had as a precursor Viviano Codazzi, opposed a noble way: the golden light of Rome replaces the stormy skies of Salvator Rosa and monumental perspectives with large squares, and sometimes ruins with shady boughs take the place of the dark ravines” (André Chastel)
The view
“Fog over Rome” 1847, “Roman Forum” 1841, “The Colosseum” about 1845 and “The Colosseum seen from above” 1855 by Ippolito Caffi (1809/66)
“The unusual view of the Fog of Rome shows how in the mid-1800s the descriptive concern was substituted by an unmistakably modern attention for the atmospheric phenomena” (Brief Guide to the Museum of Rome)

Monday, April 11, 2016


The Popes

Pius VI: The ancient city and the major works
“Portrait of Pope Pius VI” by the great painter from Lucca 1775 Pompeo Batoni (1708/87)
“Batoni, going back to the Roman tradition of the early eighteenth century, but not forgetting the new impulses from French and English schools, creates a new way to portray: the perfect physiognomic rendering combines psychological analysis of the character, often depicted in a setting that, in objects and in the landscape, reminds of his intellectual interests” (Anna Maria De Strobel)
Large “Portrait of Pius VI” about 1776 by Giovanni Domenico Porta (1722/80)
Marble bust “Pius VI” after 1788 by Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751/1801)
Paintings “The abduction of Helen” 1784 and “The Death of Achilles” 1785 by the Scottish Gavin Hamilton (1723/98)
Pius VI: The ancient city and the major works
“Allegory of the Museum Pius Clementine in the Vatican” about 1788 by Bernardino Nocchi (1741/1812)
Tempera on canvas model for the decoration of the ceiling of the Sala del Cantone in the Palazzo della Consulta. Painting, Architecture and Sculpture are invited by the Genius of the Arts to visit the Museum Pius Clementine
“Pius VI visiting the Pontine Marshes” 1786 by Abraham Louis Rodolphe Ducros
The papal court
“Terracotta bust of Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy” 1635 by François Duquesnoy (1597/1643)
“Profile portraits of Innocent XIII Conti (1721/24) and of Cardinal Ludovico Sergardi” after 1724 by Pietro Bracci (1700/73) or Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768)
“Terracotta bust of Innocent XII Pignatelli (1691/1700)” 1694/96 maybe by Domenico Guidi (1625/1701)
“Busto in marmo di Clemente XII Corsini (1730/40)” di Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768)
“The bust, which reveals the sculptor's ability to capture the facial features within the limits of an idealizing style, was placed in 1818 on the Marforio Fountain in Piazza del Campidoglio, under the inscription for the inauguration of the Museum of Sculpture in the Palazzo Nuovo, opened in 1734 by Clement XII” (Sign posted in the museum by the work)
“Marble bust of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni” 1670/80 maybe by Domenico Guidi (1625/1701)
He was pope for a year and a half with the name of Alexander VIII (1689/91)
“Terracotta Bust of Cardinal Paluzzo Paluzzi degli Albertoni” about 1698 by the Florentine Lorenzo Merlini (1666/1745)
“A stylistic language rich in refined eclecticism, borrowed mainly from the Tuscan and Roman schools. If typical of G.B. Foggini (his Florentine teacher) are, in fact, the shape and the anatomical definition of the figure, typical of Lorenzo Ottoni, leading figure of the Roman sculptural portraiture in the late Baroque age, appear to be the strong expressive characterization of the face, deferential, markedly, to the style common in Rome between Bernini’s death (1680) and the eighteenth century” (Sandro Bellesi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
The papal court
“Corpus Christi procession in St. Peter's Square” about 1646 by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth-century before the construction of the colonnade of Bernini with the bell tower still on the façade

The papal court
“The portrait of Clement XI is considered one of the most significant examples of the portraits of the artist, based on intensive physiognomic characterization, almost caricatured traits, and a search for immediacy of gestures and expressions, accentuated by the rapid treatment of the subject and by the fringed painting” (Brief Guide to the Museum of Rome)
“Portrait of Cardinal Giacomo Rospigliosi” about 1669 maybe by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713)
“Portrait of Cardinal Giovan Francesco Ginetti” about 1681 maybe by G.B. Gaulli aka Baciccio (1639/1709)