For the first time, all the more than 400 works of Palazzo Massimo are described and illustrated in one book. One of the most important seats of the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Museum of Roman Antiquities), the world's largest archaeological museum.
The book begins with a long introduction about the history of the collections of the Museo Nazionale Romano, from the time when the works were housed in the so-called ‘Museo delle Terme’ until they were transferred to the 19th-century Palazzo Massimo.
This is followed by an in-depth look at the concepts of ‘original’ and ‘copy’ in Antiquity, starting with the most famous examples of them, housed in the Sala dei Capolavori (Room of Masterpieces): the Discobolo Lancellotti (Discus-Thrower). Floor by floor, room by room, the catalogue proceeds logically through the museum, which reflects the criteria on which the exhibition project was based. The visit begins with the decisive contribution of Greek Art to Roman figurative art through an analysis of some superb marble sculptures from the 5th century BC, such as the Dying Niobid from the Horti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust), and bronzes such the Hellenistic Prince and the famous Boxer at Rest, or the curious and ghost-like Ivory Face.
There are many examples of idealistic sculpture of exquisite craftsmanship portraying gods, men and women, an extraordinary collection of portraits, including a statue of the first Emperor as the Augustus Pontifex (High Priest), from Via Labicana. Historical reliefs and sarcophaguses lead us into the Late Antique period. Undoubtedly, the pride and joy of the museum is its wonderful collection of Ancient Roman painting, mainly from the Augustan period, of unparalleled quality. For the first time, all the more than 400 works of Palazzo Massimo are described and illustrated in one book.