Friday, 31 March 2017

Torlonia Collection to go back on Display in Italy

 in Italy. The collection has been discussed here before, once in connection with the resurfacing of an item deriving from a 1983 theft and more recently because of an odd law suit filed by the Aboutaams (Swiss Antiquities Dealer Files $77 Million Suit Against Getty Museum - artnet News Jan 17th 2017).
The Torlonia collection, which comprises 620 statues and sculptures, has been described as the world's most important private collection of classical art – but almost no one has been able to admire it since it was buried in the basement of the namesake aristocratic family in Rome in the 1970s. The Italian government has now announced that decades of negotiations with the Torlonia family were brought to a successful ending and an agreement to unveil the works has been reached. [...] The precious items, including marbles, bronzes and alabasters dating back to the 5th century BC, were amassed by Giovanni Torlonia in the 19th century. Torlonia, a skilful financier, became an influential figure within the Roman upper classes thanks to his banking activities that won him a fortune and an aristocratic title bestowed on his family by Pope Pius VI. Also an avid art collector, he used defaults on loans to grab invaluable works from some of Italy's most decadent nobles. [...] The masterpieces were exhibited in the family's private museum in Rome up to 1976, when the Torlonias emptied the palace to redevelop it into an apartment building. The lucrative project was blocked by authorities but the collection has since remained sealed inside the basement of another property in the Italian capital. The family has long resisted government attempts to return the artworks to the public.

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