The Torlonia Marbles. Collecting Masterpieces

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Salvatore Settis, Carlo Gasparri
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Publisher: Electa

Year: 2020

Language: English, Italian


135 years after the publication of the only catalogue of the last of Rome’s great princely collections, this eagerly awaited volume finally allows a significant sequence of sculptures from the prodigious collection to emerge from the shadows; these have been carefully selected by the curators and presented by David Chipperfield in the sophisticated setting of the renovated spaces of Villa Caffarelli, adjacent to the Musei Capitolini, the oldest in the world. The legendary aura surrounding the famous Torlonia Collection is not due solely to its extraordinary scope and the high quality of the works, but also to the fact that the collection has not been available for the public to view for decades. The catalogue therefore presents itself as the most updated and exhaustive instrument enabling us to acquaint ourselves with the masterpieces of the collection, the object of long and meticulous restoration work that has once again given the marble sculptures the appearance of new works, documented for the first time by a magnificent photographic campaign by Lorenzo De Masi. The extensive series of essays framing and analysing in depth the history of the collection activity and museography has been entrusted to leading experts, as have the contributions on the visual success of the sculptures starting from the Renaissance and on more detailed aspects, followed by the scientific dossiers of the works, recording and interpreting the important discoveries that the progress of the archaeological studies, but above all the cleaning of the sculptures, have revealed regarding the quality of the marble and the modern additions that have made the Torlonia works a genuine mosaic of antiquarian taste.