The Torlonia Marbles: A Hidden Collection Revealed with Barbara Antonuzi

The Torlonia Marbles: A Hidden Collection Revealed with Barbara Antonuzi


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On display for the first time, the famed Torlonia marbles collection holds rare examples of Roman statuary and reliefs. Hidden from public view for centuries, the mystery of this private collection is finally brought to light. Together with expert Barbara Antonuzi in Rome, we will not only learn about the statues on display but also discover how the powerful Torlonia family came to own these tressures and why they are only now shared with the public.

The Torlonia family, with deep roots in the textile trades, was one of the most influential families in Rome in the early 1800s. Thanks to smart investments, bold financial decisions, strategic marriages, and deep family coffers, their wealth and power were unparalleled. They were also astute collectors of art and statues. The family collection today, now a foundation, holds more than 600 works. Some were discovered during archaeological excavations on the family’s extensive properties in Italy while others were acquired. Shrewdly aware of the value and importance of antiquities, the Torlonia purchased entire collections from other wealthy Roman families creating an unrivaled “collection of collections”.

We will admire some of the most interesting pieces of the collection currently on display: the extraordinary series of imperial busts and portraits, from Pompey and the Flavian emperors and also the powerful matrons Livia and Messalina. We will explore the delicate Maiden of Vulci, found in the Etruscan city during the excavations of its necropolis. We will learn about how color was used in ancient statuary by looking closely at The Relief of a Port Scene. We will also hear the fascinating story of the restoration of The Resting Goat, believed to be the work of legendary Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Led by an expert on art and architecture, Barbara Antonuzi, this interactive seminar will explain the story of the Torlonia Marbles, a massive collection that began in the Napoleonic era, like the unstoppable rise of the Torlonia family that owns it, and that is now on display in Rome, after spending more than fifty years neglected. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with insight into the biggest private collection of ancient marbles in the world.

Born and raised in Rome, Barbara Antonuzi is an architect and graduate of La Sapienza University of Rome, with a Master’s degree in Restoration of Cultural Heritage from the University Roma Tre and an advanced course on Archeological Restoration from the University of Florence. She has been working for years at the restoration of some of the most important palaces in Rome and she is keen on everything that is beautiful, whether art, gardens, architecture, or archaeology. She is a staff member of the Didactic Service of the Vatican Museums and, as a licensed tour guide in Rome, she is happy and proud to share her knowledge and true love for her extraordinary hometown.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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