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The Story Behind Marble Masterpieces in Rome

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Section I, Gallery I, Portrait of Caracalla, reigned 198-217 A.D., antique bust not related to the head, from Villa Albani, early third century. (©FondazioneTorlonia/Electa/Bulgari. Photo: Oliver Astrologo) Buried, ignored, misidentified, or broken into fragments and restored bit by bit

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T oday’s two most significant museum exhibitions, in aesthetic, scholarly, and historic terms, are The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces at the Capitoline Museum in Rome and Mythological Passions at the Prado, soon to be at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Both took years to plan and show exquisite art, one the best of ancient Roman sculpture and the other the best of Titian.

I wrote about the Torlonia show earlier this week and will write more in this story about the connoisseurship of Roman sculpture. An old Roman aristocratic family, the Torlonias own the finest collection of ancient Roman sculpture

(Collezione Torlonia. ©FondazioneTorlonia. Photos: Lorenzo De Masi) …

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