Our visit to the Torlonia Marbles exhibition
At the entrance, we are offered the opportunity to rent an audio guide. We are given a handy paper guide. Our guide has already described the most famous works while waiting in the Villa garden as far as we are concerned. We can’t wait to enter. The entrances are limited to a small number of visitors at a time; each room’s assistants coordinate the times for compliance with the anti-covid regulations. Along the way, we recognize the masterpieces, which we appreciate most thanks to the passionate explanations made some minutes before by the guide.
We also have time to let ourselves be moved by other works of art because this is the purpose of an exhibition. Everyone is attracted to different statues; there are no major or minor ones, perfect or imperfect. The beauty we see in art is the result of our emotions, like the smile aroused by the drunk satyr’s bust (1). What about the head of the Old Man from Otricoli (2) or the statue of Ulysses under the ram (3)? The display of the emperors’ busts that often seams all similar is a selection of in-the-round “snapshots” that preserve their personality.
Can you photograph the statues of the Torlonia Collection?
No flash! It makes us smile if we think about the damage to which these works were subjected before returning to new life! Artists of the caliber of Raphael and the Berninis, father and son, were in charge to restore them. For example, the goat statue’s head was further embellished by the baroque hand of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (4). By immortalizing the Torlonia Collection statues with our camera, we feel we can pay homage to the artists of the past and capture their souls.
How was the Torlonia Collection born?
It is a collection unwittingly started by the Torlonia in 1800 to decorate their noble Roman residences. Subsequent acquisitions, such as the prestigious Giustignani collection, were supplemented with fortunate discoveries in the family’s extra-urban lands. When Prince Alessandro Torlonia founded the Museum of Ancient Sculpture in 1875, his catalog, one of the first in phototype, counted 620 works, destined to increase.
Why an Exhibition and not a Permanent Museum?
The project was born from the agreement between the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Torlonia Foundation, and the fashion house Bulgari intervention. The ultimate goal is to reopen the doors to the museum that will exhibit the largest and most significant collection of Greco-Roman statues worldwide.
The Capitoline Museums
The exhibition starts from Villa Caffarelli and ends in the Exedra of Marcus Aurelius, inside the Capitoline Museums. The Exedra houses the Roman bronzes donated by Sixtus IV to the Roman people as “perennial testimony of excellence and value”. It was the first nucleus of works that includes the original equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. That gave rise, in 1471, to the first public museum in the world.
From the Lupa Capitolina to the colossal head of Marcus Aurelius, we admire incredibly preserved bronzes. From the surprising art gallery, passing through the works in which Rome’s identity is most recognizable, the Capitoline Museums are fundamental to learn about the origins of the Eternal City.
To know the cost of a private guided tour, please contact us.