Capitoline Museums - Rome


Published on

Training documents for the participants cours IST Comenius Grundtvig Europe between Mythology Modernity e Multiculturalism.
Powered by Laboratorio del Cittadino Onlus

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Capitoline Museums - Rome

  1. 1. The Myth of EuropeCapitoline MuseumsAt present the Museum of the Capitol is the principal civic and municipal museum of Rome. Withinthe system of Musei in Comune (museums in the municipality) the Capitoline museums arereferred to in plural as the original nucleus of the collection with time was joined by various andprecious artistic collections.Today, the creation of the Capitoline Museums has been traced back to 1471 when pope Sixtus IVdonated a group of bronze statues of great symbolic value to the People of Rome.Sixtus IV interest in any kind of ancient history was clear within the first years of his pontificate.The pope, a few months after his election on December 14th 1471, decided to express his great lovefor art by founding a museum center in order to custodyshelter all the ancient masterpieces of arthe possessed.Most of the sculptures he donated came from Rome and had been housed in Palazzo del Laterano.Their significance has tight relation to the eternal city and they are the initial lot of the CapitolineMuseums entire collection. Pope Sixtus VI was a humanist who studied philosophy and was a greatlover of ancient art. By donating the goods he decided also to see after the restoration of some greatbronzes dating back to the Roman Era; among others the equestrian statue of Marc Aurelius.The Capitoline Museums were thus founded by means of the donation of precious ancient foundsand were left to the custody of the Roman Senate. When Sixtus IV made his donation, hedoubtlessly considered the Roman People the true possessor of all treasures of ancient Rome andthe legitimate heir of all beautiful ancient treasures to be found on the Roman ground.Among the first masterpieces that arrived at the Capitol were the She-Wolf, Camillus, the Spinariusand the colossal head, hand and the globe of Constantine that were joined by a statue of Herculesin gilded bronze, found during Sixtus IV pontificate. Initially the sculptures had been arrangedoutside, in the arcadecolonnade of the external facade and the courtyard of Palazzo deiConservatori. Later the masterpieces were transferred inside the same building. Sixtus the fourth’sdonation attracted the attention of many wealthy Roman citizens on the bronze statues, who decidedto pay for the restoration of the latter, considering it an act of propaganda.Very soon, the initial nucleus of the collection was enriched by new pieces that were closely linkedto the history of ancient Rome and came from urban excavations. Thanks to Sixtus IV project,Rome was given back some of its ancient traces and the past greatness. At the same time thecollocation of the statues on the Capitoline Hill restored the symbolic value of a place that used tobe the centre of Romes religious life and the seat of the citys civil magistracy.The Capitoline Hill is the smallest of Romes seven hills and is made up of two parts separated by adeep valley. The present Piazza del Campidoglio was built exactly in the valley between thealtitudes and used to be the fortress of the city of Rome in ancient times. In the past the Capitol wasthe seat of the Roman public archive and of the mint during the Republican age.Ancient historic and mythological sources record that a dwelling dating back many centuries beforethe foundation of Rome was located on the Capitol. Some mythological stories are confirmed by anumber of archaeological finds that were found in the Capitoline Hill area and date back to 14thcentury BC. Recent archaeological excavations made a more precise dating possible, as the findsbelong to a pro-historic dwelling of the Bronze Age during the 15th century BC and that existed untilthe Iron Age in the 7th century BC.Piazza del Campidoglio’s current appearance dates back to a design made by MichelangeloBuonarroti around 1500. The components of the piazza (buildings, sculptures and decorated paving)were intended by Michelangelo to form an organic unity and all details were oriented towards theBasilica of Saint Peter. Pope Paul III asked Michelangelo to redesign the square as he wanted torestore the prestige of the hill that had been in a state of decline since the Middle Ages.Michelangelo created a space with a slightly trapezoidal shape lined by façades facing the square.He designed the double-flighted staircase of Palazzo Senatorio and the Cordonata stairs with a
  2. 2. crowning balustrade that faces Piazza dAracoeli. Nevertheless Michelangelo never saw the resultsof his project as he died in 1564 and the project was continued and finished by his successor, thearchitect Giacomo della Porta who only partly respected Michelangelo’s ideas.However, Michelangelo witnessed the collocation of some famous statues in the square. In 1550 thecollocation of some important sculpture in marble began, as for example the fragments of the statueof Constatine that came from the Basilica of Massenzio, the relief panels showing the works ofMarc Aurelius and the Capitoline Fasti, discovered in the Roman Forum. During the middle of the16th century the two huge and very important sculptures of Nile and Tiber were transferred from theQuirinal to the Capitoline Hill, they are currently collocated outside, in front of Palazzo Senatorio.In 1538 the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius was brought from the Lateran on the wishes ofPope Paul III.At the end of the 16th century Pope Pius V had an immense group of statues transferred to theCapitoline Hill, these statues were considered ‘pagan’ and had been previously housed in theVatican. In this way notable works of art added an aesthetic dimension to the collection of artworksof historical nature.In 1654 the building of Palazzo Nuovo, located in front of Palazzo dei Conservatori in Piazzza delCampidoglio, was finished. This building was important as it became possible to house the greatnumber of statues that were gathered in Palazzo dei Conservatori, in a more satisfactory way.It is though right to consider 1471 the year of the Capitoline Museums foundation, but we have tokeep in mind that 1743 was a second birth or re-naissance for the Museums. In 1734 the museumswere opened to the public after the acquisition, by Pope Clement XII, of a collection of statues andportraits previously owned by Cardinal Alessandro Albani. The opening to the public in 1734 madethe Capitoline Museums the first place in the world where art was accessible to everybody and notonly to the owners of the collections.A few decades later, in the middle of the 17th century, Pope Benedict XIV founded the CapitolinePicture Gallery which saw the conflation of very important private collections. This Pope was alsoresponsible for the addition to the collection of fragments of the Forma Urbis, the largest marblestreet plan of ancient Rome.Towards the end of the 19th century the collections of the Capitoline Museums underwent aconsiderable expansion, following the designation of Rome as the capital of a newly unified Italy in1870 and subsequent excavations for the construction of new residential quarters. In order toaccommodate the large amount of material emerging from these excavations, new exhibition areaswithin the Capitoline Museums were set up in the Palazzo dei Conservatori and with thesimultaneous creation, in a different place, of the Antiquarium, the City Council’s archaeologicalwarehouse. A number of sculptures, found at the end of 1800, were housed in an octagonal shapedpavilion, known as the ‘octagonal hall’. It was built on purpose in the inner garden on the first floorof the Palazzo dei Conservatori. During the XIX century, a number of important donations byprivate collectors enriched the collection of the Capitoline Museums. Above all the Castellanicollection of ancient pottery and the Cini collection of porcelain should be mentioned. In this periodthe Capitoline Medal collection was set up thanks to the acquisition of a number of importantprivate collections and several coins came to light during archaeological excavations in the city.At the beginning of 1900 the archaeologist, engineer and topographist Rodolfo Lanciani re-arranged the collections of the Capitoline Museums, his intervention was followed by a moredrastic one in 1952, when the Mussolini Museum, subsequently called the Museo Nuovo, was setup. The institution of the latter in Palazzo Caffarelli became the new home of the sculpturespreviously housed in the Antiquarium on the Caelian Hill, hithero reserved for the so-called ‘minorarts’.In 1952 an additional exhibition space, known as the Braccio Nuovo(new wing) , was created.In1957 the ‘Capitoline Museums’ junction Gallery was opened during the Third International Greekand Latin Epigraphy Congress. It was built between 1939 and 1941, with the intention to join theCapitoline buildings. It became home to about 1400 ancient Latin and Greek inscriptions mostlycoming from the city council’s Antiquarium and in part from the Capitoline Museums themselves.
  3. 3. Later serious problems of water seepage and rinsing damp in the Junction Gallery, the rooms of theNew Museum and the rooms of the New Wing of the Palazzo dei Conservatori led first to an theclosure to the public and then to being permanently cancelled from the museum’s itinerary.In 1997 some spaces that required renovation had to be emptied. The sculptures that were displayedin the Palazzo dei Conservatoeri, the New Wing and the Museo Nuovo were moved and displayedin the unusual exhibition area created in the old power plant of Montemartini, in Via Ostiense. Theproject aimed at an original and intriguing fusion of classic and industrial archaeology.The project of renovation aimed at an enhancement of the important historical, architectural andartistic value of the Capitoline Hill. The area was reorganized in respect of the traditional role of theplace as the political symbol of the city. The existing exhibition areas were reorganised aiming atthe creation of a complex and fully integrated circuit and some sectors of the museum were re-organised, some new ones were created and some sections that were previously closed were openedto the public.At present the Tabularium is open to the public. It is linked to the other buildings by means of theGalleria di Congiunzione. The museum itinerary has been enriched by the addition of spaces inPalazzo Caffarelli and Palazzo Clementino, once the museum’s office block. Visitors can admire theCapitoline Coin Cabinet inside Palazzo Clementino and the Galleria Lapidaria in the Galleria diCongiunzione. Further renovation work concerns the transformation of the Giardino Romano into alarge glass covered hall and the reorganization of the Castellani Collection, the halls of the RomanHorti and the section dedicated to the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter.Itinerary and halls of the Capitoline MuseumsThe historical homes of the Capitoline Museums are Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo.The halls of Palazzo dei Conservatori are decorated with frescoes, stuccoes, and carvings. The mostancient part of Palazzo dei Conservatori are the halls of the piano nobile, where a number of bronzestatues donated by Pope Sixtus IV to the Roman people, for their symbolic value and in order toremember Rome’s greatness that the pontifical government intended to restore, are displayed. Theitinerary of the Capitoline Museums is as described below.Palazzo dei ConservatoriPiano NobileHall of the Horatii and CuriatiiThe frescoes are by Cavalier d’Arpino. The Hall displays a statue in marble by Bernini portrayingUrban VIII Barberini and the bronze statue of Innocent X PamphiliHall of the CaptainsThe frescoes are by Tommaso Laureti and were carried out at the end of the 16th century. Thepainter narrated episodes of military life of the period of the Republic with chromatic andimpressive vivacity. Some episodes painted by Laureti are Brutus’s Justice, Mucius Scevola beforePorsena, Horatius Cocles defending the Pons Sublicius, Battle at Lake Regillus.The hall displays the great celebrative statues of the most important Captains of the PontificialMilitia as Marcantonio Colonna, winner of the battle of Lepanto.Also noteworthy is the coffered ceiling with painted scenes from ‘Jerusalem Delivered’.Hall of HannibalThis is the only room that maintained its original frescoes dating back to the first decade of the 16thcentury. The frescoes are traditionally attributed to Jacopo Ripanda and celebrate episodes of thePunic Wars. The hall takes its name from Hannibal’s image on the central wall, it is a naïve and
  4. 4. fantastic representation. The wooden ceiling is the first place where the She Woolf that gives milkto the twins appears. It is used as a decorative element but unveils a symbolic hint about the city’sorigin.IV Chapel dedicated to the Madonna and the Saints Peter and Paul It is important as it is dedicated to the patron saints of Rome. The decoration of the chapel wasfinished during the 17th century by the paintings portraying the four evangelists and other saints.The ceiling frescoes show episodes of the lifes of the two saints, who are the protectors of the city.On the wall facing the window is a fresco of a Madonna with child by Andrea di Assisi, it wasdetached from the fifteenth century loggia of the palazzo and covers a golden grating intended toconnect the Chapel with the adjacent Hall of the Captains .V Hall of the TapestriesSince 1770 this hall housed the throne of the pope. The fresco frieze depicting scenes of ScipioAfricanus’ life was made around the middle of the 16th century together with the wooden cofferedceiling with gilded carvings. The tapestries were made by the Pontificial Fabbrica di San Michele aRipa. The tapestries depict important Roman scenes, busts of Roman emperors and trophies of armsVI Hall of the triumphsThis is the first of the halls that is oriented towards the city. The fresco frieze that runs along theupper part of the walls was commissioned from Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti in 1569 anddepicts the triumph of Lucius Aemilius Paulus over Perseus, the King of Macedon, with theCapitoline and Palazzo dei Conservatori in the background. The wooden ceiling was made by thefamous carver and ebonist Flaminio Boulanger. The hall displays, among others, some of the mostfamous bronze sculptures of the Capitoline Museums as for example the Spinarius, Camillus andthe so-called Capitoline Brutus.VII Hall of the She-WolfThis room has contained the She-wolf together with the Consular and Triumphal Fasti for most ofthe time. The latter were discovered in the Roman Forum around the 15th century. The dating of theCapitoline Wolf, traditionally dated back to the first half of the 15th century, taking into accountmany Greek and Italian figurative artworks, was discussed again after the results of Carbon 14analysis performed on organic materials resulting from the casting process and would date thesculpture as belonging to medieval times. The sculpture was donated to the Roman People in 1471and became the symbol of the city when, after its transfer to the Capitoline hill, the twins Romulusand Remus – the legendary founders of the city- were added to the ancient artwork. Since then thesculpture has been displayed in Palazzo dei Conservatori and according to witnesses of the past,during the 16th century the She-Wolf was placed in this room that used to be an open space withthree arches opening on the exterior.The wall decorations date back to the first decade of the 16th century and are attributed to JacopoRinaldi. The frescoes are fragmentary and not easy to interpret. The floor mosaic is extremelyprecious, it is an ancient artwork that was discovered in 1893 and then reassembled in this spacethat is so full of extraordinary symbolic elements.VIII Hall of the geeseThis hall houses the head of Medusa by Bernini and a portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti datingback to the 18th century. The pictorial decoration of the hall dates back to the mid 16th century,during the papacy of Alexander III Farnese. The frieze consists of small panels with playful scenesset against a real or fantastic background, alternating with military trophies and floral and fruittriumphs. Two bronze ducks- that have been interpreted as geese since they were admired as aremembrance of the legendary Capitoline geese that had saved the Romans from the Gauls- dating
  5. 5. back to the Roman era have been displayed in the hall since the 18th century and give the room itsname.The recent restoration of the wooden ceiling has brought the old ‘air-colored’ background to lighton which gilded rosettes of various shapes, vases and shields are painted. During the 18th centurythe room was enriched with stucco decorations that frame a number of elements as sculptures,paintings and epigraphs.Hall of the EaglesThe fine wooden ceiling of this room, dating back to the 16th century, features painted landscapesand carved gilded rosettes. The frieze below , that dates back to the same period as that in the hall ofthe geese, features a series of panels with views of Rome and oval medallions depicting minorepisodes of the Roman history of Republican Rome.A small marble and bronze statue is the small scale replica of a Hellenistic statue of the temple ofArtemis and at Ephesus embellished with symbols of fertility and animal heads. Two marble eaglesgive the room its name.X,XI,XII Castellani HallsThe objects displayed in the rooms were donated in 1867 and 1876 by Augusto Castellani. He was afamous goldsmith and collector and an important member of political and cultural life of the city.When he was the director of the Capitoline Museums he invested a lot of funds in thereorganization and growth of the museum’s collections.The collection consists of about 700 very different pieces that come mainly from the necropolis ofEtruria, Latium and southern Italy. The first to halls display ceramics from Greece, southern Italyand Etruria, buccheri and ceramics in polished mixture, all dating back o the time between the 8thand the 4th century BC, the last hall displays a number of particularly valuable items as theCapitoline Tesa ( a bronze chest decorated with scenes from Achillus’life( and the small statue ofancestor sitting on the tomb of the seven seats in Cerveteri. Among the objects that are notdisplayed a group of votive and architectural ceramics and an interesting group of small italicbronze statues are worth being noticed.XIII, XIV Halls of the Modern FastiThese halls display marble panels with the inscriptions of all names of Roman magistrates(senators) from 1640 to 1870.XV, XVI, XVII,XVIII Halls of the Horti LamianiIn the four halls have been displayed all pieces found during the archaeological excavations made atthe end of the 19th century. The excavations were made in the area of the Esquiline hill, betweenPiazza Vittorio and Piazza Dante. Rodolfo Lanciani was one of the most active members of theexcavations and was the one who made a detailed documentation of the archaeological activities.The rooms house among others the Esquiline Venus and the well known portrait of Commodus asHercules. The excavations, made during the 19th century, brought to light the ruins of a vastcomplex of buildings. One of the most impressive buildings is an immense theater shaped structure.Most likely it was a monumental fountain with a scenographical-effect on the valley below. Aportico facing rooms with garden frescoes, a series of thermal rooms decorated with preciouscolored, marble a stupefying underground corridor that is almost 80 meters long that amazed theones that discovered it because of its fine decoration. The pavement was made with the rarestqualities of alabaster (of which only a small part is conserved) and it contained precious yellowcolumns with bases and capitals in gilded stucco. Other rooms, that were part of the same complex,had walls in black slating decorated with gilded arabesques or enriched by fountains.XIX, XX Hall of the Horti Tauriani and VettianiIn these rooms the archaeological finds coming from the area where the homes of Statilius Taurus
  6. 6. and Vettius Agorius used to be, are displayed. From this area come several sculptures that date backto different phases of history. Currently, sculptures of divinities, reliefs with landscape views ordecorative motives, two large marble craters and three splendid imperial portraits of Hadrian,Sabina and Matidia are displayed in the rooms of the Capitoline Museums.XXI, XXII, XXIII Halls of the Horti di MecenateThe Horti di Mecenate are the most ancient residential gardens to be found on the Esquiline Hill. Ofthe sumptuous residence of Mecenate, well known through literary descriptions and especiallypraised by Horace, the only existing archaeological rest is the Auditorium. A semi-submergedsummer triclinium, that is decorated with frescoes showing garden views that contain small statuesand fountains, as to make up for the lack of openings towards the outside. Part of the frescoes canbe dated around the time of Mecenate and the other part dates back to the first decade of the 1stcentury AC, when the gardens became part of the Emperial property. At the time, the villa was asort of extension of the Domus Aurea. These rooms of the Capitoline Museums display the finedecorations of the Horti di Mecenate, found during excavations made at the end of the past century.The finds were discovered inside the walls built in the late antiquity as they were used as buildingmaterial. This was a frequent way of re-using existing material and has been used frequently on theEsquiline hill. Among the decorative artwork, the most important ones are the beautiful Potoriushorn-shaped fountain, the head of the Amazon, the statue of Marcia and the statue of the dog. Thepresence of a group of Muses that is perfectly integrated in the decorative program of the Horti areevidence of Mecenates passion for art.XXIV Gallery of the HortiThe gallery contains portraits from the Horti of the Esquiline hill and two large marble craters withrelief decorations from the Horti Vettiani.XXV Exedra for Marc AureliusThe new glass hall was built inside the area of the so called ‘ Giardino Romano’ of Palazzo deiConservatori and houses the monumental equestrian statue of Marc Aurelius together with some ofthe large Capitoline bronze statues as Hercules in gilded bronze from the Foro Boario and theremains of the colossal bronze statue of Constantine.The stairs have been built within an open space that used to mark the boundary between theproperties of the Conservatory and the Caffarelli family. The luminous and wide hall houses themonumental equestrian statue of Marc Aurelius in bronze that used to be at the center of PiazzaCampidoglio and has now been replaced by a copy as to protect the original damage due to outdoorexposure. The equestrian statue is not mentioned in ancient sources and was probably erected in 176AC to celebrate the emperor’s triumph over the Germanic tribes or in 180 AC shortly after hisdeath.It was kept at the Lateran since the Middle Ages and incorrectly thought to portray the firstChristian Emperor Constantine. In the hall are displayed some great bronzes that were part of theinitial core of the Capitoline collection of antiquities as the gilded bronze statue of Hercules fromthe Forum Boarium and the remains of the colossal bronze statue of Constantine. Great importancewas given to the monumental remains of the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.XXVI Area of the Temple of Jupiter CapitolinusPart of the impressive foundations made of blocks of outcrop that through the superficial layer ofclay, rest upon the tufaceous rock below. The grand Temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva built byking Tarquinius Priscus and Tarquinius Superbus in the VIth century BC was rebuilt several timesover the centuries, and amazes even at present because of its extraordinary size. On September 13th509 BC the temple was consecrated under the consul M. Horatius Pulvillus, at the beginning of theRepublican period. The building of this temple required significant financial commitment. Theworkers used were Etruscan. Over the years the temple preserved its main architectural features.
  7. 7. XXVII Hall of the Middle AgesThe hall of the 16th century Capitoline Archive in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, houses the new hallof the Middle Ages of the Capitoline Museums with a striking exhibition of the honorary monumentof Charles 1st of Anjou. The hall displays other artworks that help to illustrate the history of theMiddle Ages.Second FloorThe second floor of Palazzo dei Conservatori houses an important collection of paintings thatcomprises also several pieces of ornamental and applied art. The Capitoline Picture Gallery is theoldest public collection of paintings. It was created on the Capitoline Hill between 1748 and 1750with the purchase of paintings of the 16th and 17th century belonging to the Sacchetti and Pius ofSavoy collections. Among the art works are paintings by Tiziano, Caravaggio and Rubens.Afterwards the collection of the museum has greatly increased and noteworthy is Count FrancescoCini;s legacy who donated a splendid porcelain collection to the museum in 1881.Room I Central Italy from the Middle Ages to Renaissance. This hall is dedicated to Italian painting of religious subjects from the Middle Ages and earlyRenaissance, from the late fourteenth century to the early 16th century. All paintings displayed inthis room are on wood panels. The bigger paintings – altar panels- decorated the altars of churchesor chapels, the smaller ones were part of multiple panels –polyptychs-. The circular shape ofdevotional paintings for private residences and not for churches was typical for Florence.Room II The 16th century in FerraraThe room houses paintings coming from Ferrara, the capital of a small independent duchy ruled bythe Este family. They created a sophisticated court that attracted many artists and writers.. Formalelegance is the principal feature of Ferrara’s pictorial production, among the most important centresof Italian Renaissance.RoomIII Venice and it’s territory.- the 16th centuryThis room houses the artworks coming from Venice, one of the most important centers of ItalianRenaissance, where some of the greatest Italian artists lived. Venice was the capital of a powerful and flourishing Republic ruled by doges and the only city thatproposed an alternative to the Umbrian-Tuscan Renaissance pictorial style.Room IV Artistic trends during the 17th century in RomeThe artworks displayed in this hall were created by artists coming from various geographical areasand cultural backgrounds that worked in Rome during the 17th century. The city attracted paintersfrom all over Italy and Europe because of the probability of success and prosperity and thepossibility to work next to the great artworks of the past.Room V Between the 16th and the 17th century in Emilia and RomeRome and Bologna were the two most important cities of the Papal Sate. Their cultural relationshipdates back to the beginning of the 16th century and established over time. Bolognaise artistsmaintained a constant attention towards a classical formal elegance, whereas the Roman ones triedto go beyond the boundaries of late Mannerism.Room VI Paintings in Bologna from Caracci to Guido ReniAnnibale Caracci together with his cousin Ludovico and brother Agostino developed a new type ofpainting and marked an important turning point in the research of Italian and European painting bycombining formal elements of classicism with a refined pictorial poetry, able to tell stories and
  8. 8. move souls. He is among the founders of the great Academy of Bologna, whose main protagonistwas Guido Reni during the first half of the 17th century.Hall of Saint Petronilla- great paintings of the 17th century in RomeAt the end of the 16th century Rome returns to be the capital of European painting and the principalplace of artistic research. The greatest artists come to Rome in order to learn, work and find clients.The long stay of Caravaggio from the second half of the nineties of the 16th century to 1606 markedan important revolution in the history of painting.Hall of Pietro di Cortona- Baroque painting – Pietro da Cortona and the CortoneseBaroque started in the twenties of the 17th century in coincidence with the first years of pope UrbanVIII Barberini’s pontificate. Pietro da Cortona was the first representative of this new painting style,thanks to his capacity of painting grand scenographies he became an example for an entiregeneration of painters.The Cini Gallery. European and Oriental PorcelainsThe Cini Gallery houses a precious collection of porcelains donated to the Capitoline Museums byCount Francesco Cini in 1881. Over time the collection was enriched by other donations ofEuropean and oriental porcelain collections. The walls are hung with European paintings from theXVI – XVIII centuries and the series of Antwerp tapestries representing the story of Semiramis.Palazzo Clementino CaffarelliPalazzo Caffarelli, including the oldest part called Palazzo Clementino, became part of the museumin 2000.Restorations made it possible to restore most of the original dimensions of the rooms, especially inPalazzo Clementino, and to recover some of the decorative artworks of its Piano Nobile. Theoriginal core of the palazzo was built during the second half of the 16th century on the CapitolineHill, within the Caffarelli’s possessions. The building, attached to Palazzo dei Conservatoriappeared in city maps around 1593 and in modern times has erroneously been called PalazzoClementino.The ancient building comprises the Hall of the Frescoes and three adjacent rooms, as evidenced bythe wooden small coffered ceilings and part of the wall decorations found during restoration andsurviving elements of a decorative apparatus dating back to the same period of time.Second floorCapitoline Coin Cabinet One of the main collections is displayed in the four bigger glass cabinets.The exhibition follows the chronological order of the various stages of the creation of the CoinCabinet collection. The documentation of the various phases of Roman coinage is particularlyinteresting with pieces coming from the urban area and important private collections. The glypticsand the jewellery displayed are ancient finds coming from digs or reused in modern jewellery andcreated by the Castillani’s goldsmiths. Historical and yearly struck medals by the Municipality ofRome are displayed as well.The Santarelli collection- one of the rooms houses the glyptic collection of the Dino and ErnestoSantarelli foundation. It is on loan for ten years at the Capitoline Museums and comprises itemscoming from ancient Egypt, the Near East, from the Greek-Roman world and modern Europe. Thefollowing room is equipped with a complete educational apparatus that consists of explanatorypanels, multi-media tools and videos explaining the technical procedures of glyptic art.Hall of Frescoes- this room, given its size and sumptuous decorations, is the most important one.
  9. 9. Some remains of the frescoes that covered the walls and consisted of large scale images framed bycolumns and architectural elements, are still preserved. Other fragments of small landscape frescoespainted over the doors are preserved as well. The room is called the room of Saint Peter because ofa scene painted in the frescoes that represents the healing by Saint Peter in front of the temple ofJerusalem.Hall of the Pediment- The recreation of the terracotta pediment from Via di San Gregorio, displayedin an exhibition in 2002 has become part of the museum’s itinerary. The high relief of thetympanon portrays a scene of sacrifice with three divinities- Mars and two goddesses –. Thesacrifice is celebrated by an offerer wearing a toga to whom three bare-chested servants lead sixanimals in two rows, starting from the two extremities of the pediment.A part of the architectural framework of the sloping roof –pediment’s sima- is preserved as well. Atits centre a small relief portrays the myths of Hercules and Hesione.Palazzo NuovoThis section of the museum has basically maintained the main features of the organization decidedin the 18th century, even though many changes have been made during the centuries. The decorativeaspects of the rooms are basically unchanged, and the display of the sculptures and the inscriptionshas been adapted to it. The fine pieces of ancient sculpture come mainly from private collections ofprelates and noble Roman families. The building, unlike Palazzo dei Conservatori lying justopposite, shows a symmetrical balance of the spaces and architectural elements.The palazzo is called ”Nuovo”, new, because it was built ex- novo, from scratch, usingMichelangelo’s project in order to complete the design of the Capitoline square by adding it to theexisting Palazzo dei Conservatori e Palazzo Senatorio. The museum was opened to the public in1734, during the pontificate of pope Celement XII. The year before the pope had purchased the veryimportant Albani collection of 418 ancient sculptures. These were added to the other items alreadyon display in the Vatican Belvedere and donated to the Capitoline Museums in 1566 by pope Pius Vand to the sculptures that did not find space in Palazzo dei Conservatori. The collections are stilldisplayed according to the layout decided in the 18th century.The Galleria LapidariaThe underground gallery that links the Capitoline palazzo (Galleria di Congiunzione) was built atthe end of the 1930ies underneath the Capitoline square. It contains rests of Roman residencesdating back to the 2nd century AC.In 2005 inside this space the Galleria Lapidaria was reorganized and it now displays a selection ofthe finest pieces of the Capitoline’s epygraphic collection.The Galleria di Congiunzione, was built in the late 30ies and lies 8 meters under the level of theCapitoline square.The excavations made in order to build the gallery brought to the discovery of an ancient road thatlead the Capitoline Hill and was lined by buildings from the imperial time, one of them, that is nowpart of the museum’s itinerary, was characterized by pillars with consoles to support the balconies.In 1957, during the Third International Greek and Latin Epigraphy Congress the gallery becamehome to about 1400 marble inscriptions from the Roman Era. Unfortunately the gallery was closedto the public about 20 years later because of problems of humidity.In 2005, after a careful restoration of the walls and the inscriptions, the Galleria Lapidaria was re-opened to the public. The pieces were displayed in a new way and a complete informative apparatusis now available.Tabularium- Passing through the Galleria Lapidaria coming from the museum, one reaches theTabularium. It is a long corridor, built in modern times by using the ancient foundations of the
  10. 10. building. From there one sees the temple of Veiovis. At the end of the corridor lies the gallery thatopens up on the Roman Forum. There is the entrance to another room with remains of buildingsprevious to the tabularium. The rooms of the north-eastern side of the Tabularium, where theplatband with the inscription of the approval of the building is, are visible from the outside of themuseum in Via S.Pietro in Carcere.On the side of the Capitoline Hill the square of the Roman Forum is closed by the massivequadrangular structure of the Tabularium. This building used to be seat of the Roman archive, werelaws and official acts, engraved in bronze tabulae, were kept. Quintus Lutatius Catullus inauguratedit in 78 BC, during the year of his consulate, as evidenced by an inscription on the platband visiblein Via San Pietro in Carcere. The amazing monument with its incredibly well preservedfoundations, occupies the southern slope-side of the saddle that links the two peaks of theCapitoline Hill, the Capitolinum in the west and Arx in the east. The central core of the building,created in opus coementicium, consists in foundation room, that used to be unsuitable to beused,and is the terracing of the slope (substructio). The upper floors, formerly home of the archieve,have been substituted by Palazzo Senatorio.The Tabularium has nearly a trapezoidal shape and an important indentation in the angle towardsthe Capitolinum, due to the presence of an ancient temple, the Veiovin Temple.Paolo VeronesePaolo Caliari became Veronese from his birthplace Verona where he was born in 1528. He died inVenice on April 19th 1588. He was born to a stonecutter and began his artistic career at 13 AntonioBadile’s apprentice. The latter would become his future father in law. Veronese created his firstimportant masterpiece, the ‘pala Bevilacqua Lazise’ when he was twenty. During the followingyears he started to work for the Soranzo family in Castelfranco Veneto and for Cardinal HerculesGonzaga in Mantua. After a short period in Verona, he spent most of his time working in Venice.In 1553 he started to work on his Venetian masterpieces in Palazzo Ducale and in 1556 hecollaborated at the decoration of the ceilings of the Marciana Library with frescoes. He spent mostof his life in Venice and went for short stays to Verona, Piacenza and Vicenza for work. In 1566 hemarried Elena, Antonio Badile’s daughter. They had several children and his sons Gabriele andCarletto together with his brother Benedetto were Veronese’s main and most importantcollaborators. Veronese’s style was born within the Mannerist culture of Parma but is part of theMannerism of Venice, even if the chromatic range used in his paintings is richer than the traditionalone. Veronese was highly aware of Giulio Romano’s activity, Bronzino’s elegance, the raphaelismof Antonio Allegri called Correggio and Palladio’s and Sanmicheli’s architectural innovations. Hewas not interested in problems that weren’t exclusively formal. Veronese was known as supremecolorist, able to portray the luxurious details of a garment and the muscles of a hound with the sameintensity. He was an extraordinary inventor of imaginary painted architectures and extremely goodin interpreting the pleasures of living in Venice during the 16th century. Among his masterpieces area marvelous cycle of frescoes at Villa Barbaro di Maser (Tv), the imponent and amazing Suppers,the paintings in Palazzo Ducale and the grand ensemble of art works in San Sebastiano, to whom hededicated his whole life. Veronese was buried in the church of San Sebastiano in Venice.
  11. 11. Paolo Veronese - Rape of Europe, 1580/85 - Capitoline Museums, Picture Gallery.Paolo Veronese is the one who created what was to be called ‘fare grande’ of the Venetian paintingstyle, he combined a refined formal elegance with a new and informal use of colour as in the bigpainting of the rape of Europe ( signed copy of a painting with the same subject that is at presentpreserved in Palazzo Ducale in Venice). In the painting the myth - the young girl Europe is stolenby Jupiter transformed into a bull, taken into the sea and brought to the land that was given hername- is told in detail and the story focuses on the sensual figure of the girls that is sumptuouslydressed.
  12. 12. Paolo Veronese – Rape of Europe 1580/85 – Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Hall of the AnticollegioIt is well known that the copy preserved in the Capitoline Museum’s Picture Gallery is signed butmore detailed historical information is available about the painting in Venice’s Palazzo Ducale.The painting was commissioned by Jacopo Contarini between 1575 and 1580 for the family palacein S. Samuel, where he lived. The painting was inherited by Bertuccio Contarini who donated it tothe Serenissima by legacy in 1713 and then taken to the Hall of the Anticollegio of Palazzo Ducale.In 1797 the painting was transferred to Paris by the French troops and only in early 1900 it wasbrought back to Palazzo Ducale. The theme of the painting was inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphosesand portrays a moment of the mythological tale of the Rape of Europe. The painter concentrated onthe bull’s courtship of the girl and not on the dramatic moment of the rape as Titian in his paintingmade between 1559 and 1562, currently displayed at Boston’s Garden Museum. Four maids witnessthe courtship. Two of them are straighten the girl’s sumptuous dress, evoking something thatreminds the preparation of a spouse before honeymoon, whereas the other two pick up the weddingcrowns that three cupids have thrown down. The dog in the painting could be interpreted as anallusion to marital fidelity. The loving atmosphere of the painting is underlined by the couple’sphysical intimacy: while Europe is settling on the back of the bull, the animal kisses her foot.This detail is an innovation in the traditional iconographic and literary representation. In fact classicand renaissance sources report that the bull kisses the girl on her hand and not on her foot as paintedby Veronese. The detail of the kiss is rare in iconographic representation and when it is portrayed itusually sticks to the literary tradition. The erotic atmosphere loaded with physical contact makesone think that the artist had seen the Transformations of 1553 by M. Lodovico Dolce. On thebackdrop small scenes portray the bull’s way towards the sea with Europe on his back and themoment of the abduction in which Europe is already far away and turns towards her maids thatwish to save her. In his lifetime Veronese made several attempts to portray the abduction of Europe.
  13. 13. The myth of Europe in artThe image of a girl who travels on the back of a bull in love, suspended between delight and fearhas inspired many artists, sculptors, painters, weavers, mosaicists that showed different grades ofdependence from ancient sources, ranging from total adhesion to vague inspiration. Just like manyother myths, the one about Europe has been portrayed for thousands of years from the ancient timesto present by different cultures and people. Some representations have had great critic response, butmostly the iconographic theme of the myth itself has had a great success. It was represented in basreliefs, mosaics, vascular paintings, frescoes, panels, paintings on canvas, engravings, bronzes andsculptures and even recent masterpieces in poly-material.Since ancient times the mythological figure has gone side by side with the concept of Europe as acontinent, geographical Europe that in ancient times, together with Asia and Africa, represented allthat was known. In all iconographic representations Europe appears royal and matron – as thepersonification of a continent should be and is always portrayed next to the bull, that soon becameits symbolic attribute.It is interesting to see how the representation of Europe changed with the growing conscience ofmodern times and how it adjusted to the personification and iconographic concept that was linkedto those changes. For example during the 16th century, Europe is portrayed as an opulent sovereignfull of noble attributes, a characterization that in art, especially in painting, went on for more thantwo centuries.. at the same time Europe was portrayed as a dethroned queen and crying womanracked with grief in front of her land and people after decades of heresy, reforms, schisms,divisions, wars and famines.The myth of Europe had an important but discontinuous fortune in representation. In fact during theMiddle Ages there was a long pause, as the heroine was portrayed only seldom. Whereas she wasused to ideally represent the soul that Christ brings through the sea of earthly life, from the shore oforiginal sin towards the landing of salvation.In modern times the various phases of Europe’s myth are linked to different profane images and areinserted into different contexts and pictorial cycles. The iconographic motive of the abductionappears to be extremely suitable for excited compositions as for example struggling bodies, thecontraposition of limbs, the sudden unveiling of beautiful feminine forms, the violence of feelingsthat reach their peak in the expressions of their faces are all irresistible details to insert in modernfigurative expressions as in sculpture and painting. Especially the artistic genre of the ‘small bronzesculptures enables the sculptors to explore the three dimensional theme of clinging bodies in whichthe multiple points of observation make it possible to show the strong masculine muscles, a sinuousfeminine body or the muscles of an animal during the effort of escape.Another well represented iconographic ‘family’ of which Europe is part is the one of ‘ marinetravelers’ where splendid divine or semi-divine women plough through the waters or fantastic andmakeshift means of transport.Coming back to the myth itself it is not hazardous to say that every representation in time isdifferent because of its historic and art/historic background. The recreation of this myth in thecenturies depended on various factors as the variation of culture, the preferences of thecommissioner, the current fashion of representation, the creativity of the painter, and all togetherrepresent so many variable elements, that it is almost impossible to get the same result. Every time aprecise moment of the myth is portrayed, once Europe’s seduction on the shore by the charminggentle bull, another time the sudden departure of the bull with a frightened and upset Europe on hisback that turns towards the shore- symbol of her homeland and the lost affections, the couple’sjourney in frightful-dreadful solitude in the open sea or on the contrary the princess’s journeythrough the sea quietly rocked by the swimming bull, the landing and the embrace of the coupleunder the big plane-tree.In the different representations Europe interprets a number of affections and feelings that vary fromsurprise to anxiety, from fear to sensual abandon, whereas the bull, quiet in his divinity, abducts thegirl in order to bring her into the open sea towards far shores.
  14. 14. The myth of Europe has inspired many different artistic interpretations, especially painted ones,over the years. During the 16th and 17th century, in most European countries and especially in Italyand Flanders/Netherland, the two places with the highest figurative culture of their time, the mythwas represented in many different ways. From the late eighteenth century on, after a flourishing ofVenetian and French ‘Europes’ the vitality of the ancient myth was replaced by boredom.The rarity of art works of the 19th century portraying the myth of Europe is strictly linked to thetumultuous scenario of ideals and politics of the time and is in contrast with the reprise of the themejust on the edge of the XX century, when psychoanalysis and political propaganda, satire andfeminism become a new way of interpreting the continuous change in representation. Themultiplicity of figurative and abstract language that characterized the artistic expression of the XXcentury, the Phoenician heroine becomes once again the symbol of the entire continent, whereasThe bull that abducts her is sometimes identified with the sinister characteristics of totalitarianregimes or evokes the ancestral and deep relationship with the Mediterranean memory of taurolatryor tauromachy.