The Torlonia Marbles had not been seen since the 1940s, until a landmark deal between the Fondazione Torlonia and the Ministry of Culture in Italy.
Decades of wrangling had ensued over public access to the Torlonia family’s collection of ancient Greek and Roman art, after the original Museo Torlonia closed in 1976 and the family moved the collection to a private museum in Trastevere, which the public had limited access to. The collection was then moved into storage at the Torlonia family’s Villa Albani so that the palazzo in Trastevere could be converted into apartments.
However, it was discovered that the conversion into apartments had taken place without planning permission – and a four-decade battle to persuade the Torlonia family to exhibit the collection commenced.
Bas relief from the Torlonia Collection showing specks of ancient paint
Now the jeweller Bulgari has funded the restoration of what is known as the “collection of collections” – and the exhibition which re-opened at the Capitoline Museums in April after the Covid lockdowns has now been extended to 9 January 2022. Plenty of time left to book that flight and hotel and make the most of this opportunity to see one of the most spectacular examples of ancient sculpture in the world.
The exhibition is being staged in a brand new space at the Capitoline Museum’s Villa Caffarelli and spans five different rooms. The restoration of the marble, bronze and alabaster sculptures was overseen by Anna Maria Carruba, who says some of the exhibits still show signs of having once been painted – the custom with ancient sculptures, rather than the white statues we see today.
There are more than 90 of the 620 pieces in the Torlonia Collection on show at Villa Caffarelli – restoration of the collection is taking place at the Torlonia laboratories.
A website has been launched with more information about the Torlonia Collection exhibition – you can marvel at the marble, bronze and alabaster sculptures and buy your tickets in advance.
Featured image: Capitoline Museum (A. Meredith)
All other images CCL Wikipedia