Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Torlonia Collection

Many of the greatest sculptures to have survived from the ancient world ended up in the collections of Italian princes, and so did much of the Renaissance and Baroque work that brought European sculpture back up to the classical standard. Most of those once private collections have long been accessible to the public in museums. Except for one, that of the Torlonia family. The owners allowed an art historian to make a catalog of their holdings some time ago, but this only whetted the appetite of art lovers who wanted more than a single black and white photo of these wonders.

Now, after years of negotiations, it looks like 96 pieces from the 620-piece collection will go on display in Rome this spring. Among the pieces to be displayed is this charming goat, an ancient work that was restored by Bernini.

Roman relief showing ships.

And a scene from the Odyssey. Sometimes I can't stop marveling that so much art survives from so long ago.

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