The Torlonia Marbles Collecting Masterpieces

14 oct 2020 – 27 feb 2022

Thanks to a historic agreement between the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e per il Turismo and the Fondazione Torlonia, 90 outstanding marbles from the Torlonia collection will be protagonists of a major exhibition The Torlonia Marbles. Collecting Masterpieces, curated by Salvatore Settis and Carlo Gasparri and setting by David Chipperfield Architects Milano

The Torlonia Marbles constitute a highly representative and privileged cross-section of the antiquities collecting history in Rome from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The exhibits are not only outstanding examples of ancient sculpture (busts, reliefs, statues, sarcophagi and decorative elements), but also the reflection of a cultural process – the beginnings of collecting antiquities and the transition from collection to museum – of fundamental importance: a process in which Rome and Italy have had an indisputable primacy. Therefore the exhibition traces the formation of the Torlonia collection, and the last of its five sections forms an eloquent tie with the adjacent exedra of bronzes and the Marcus Aurelius in the Musei Capitolini, bringing out the connection between the beginnings of private collecting of antiquity and the significance of the Lateran bronzes donation to the city by Sixtus IV in 1471.

The Torlonia Marbles. Collecting Masterpieces inaugurates, with the first stop of the world tour in Rome, the new exhibition venue of the Musei Capitolini of Rome Capital in Palazzo Caffarelli, back to its original splendor thanks to the commitment of the Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali. The choice of venue is linked to the exhibition theme, focused on the history of collecting, exemplified with exceptional relevance by the Museo Torlonia alla Lungara (founded by Prince Alessandro Torlonia in 1875), is inserted with exceptional relevance. Torlonia collection, which has 620 catalogued items exceptionally catalogued in 1881 by Pietro Ercole Visconti, in texts and phototypes, is the outcome of a long series of acquisitions and some significant transfers of sculptures between the various family residences. The sculptures exhibited have been restored by Fondazione Torlonia and thanks to a contribution by Bvlgari and described in a new catalogue published by Electa.

The exhibition marks the first step of the agreement signed on 15 March 2016 between the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e per il Turismo and the Fondazione Torlonia and is the outcome of the institutional agreement signed by the Direzione Generale Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio and the Soprintendenza Speciale of Rome with the Fondazione Torlonia itself. The exhibition is the first stage of a world tour that will conclude with the identification of a permanent exhibition venue for the opening of a new Museo Torlonia.