USA donates Bernini sculpture to Castel Sant’Angelo

The bust of Prospero Farinacci (1544 - 1618), by Roman Baroque artist Gianlorenzo Bernini

 ROME – The American Friends of LoveItaly (AFLI), a non-profit organization committed to conserving and protecting Italian cultural heritage, has dedicated a Gianlorenzo Bernini sculpture to the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, according to AFLI. 

 AFLI was founded in 2014 by LVenture Group. The bust was first donated to AFLI by Marilyn Aronberg Lavin in honor of her husband Irving Lavin, who attributed the 1619 sculpture to Bernini. Lavin was professor emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study and Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2019). 

 The sculpture is a marble bust: its head is Carrara marble, its torso is Belgian marble, and its base is gray marble. It depicts Prospero Farinacci (1544 - 1618), a Roman jurist and intellectual who is known for his literary testimonies that have contributed to the progress of legal practice in Italy. 

 Farinacci was also a defender in the well-known case of Beatrice Cenci, a young Roman aristocrat accused of patricide. She was imprisoned, interrogated, and ultimately executed in 1599 in Piazza di Ponte, the piazza which sits in front of the Castel Sant’Angelo monument.

  “The great generosity of the Lavin Professors is a testimony to the fascination of the Italian artistic and cultural heritage to which they have dedicated their lives, with their vast knowledge of the works,” said Richard Hodges, President of AFLI, during Monday's donation event. “We are honored to be involved in the project, confident that this work will be appreciated by visitors to Castel Sant’Angelo for many decades to come.” 

 The National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo also holds a portrait of Farinacci by Giuseppe Cesari, dated 1607 and located in the Cabinet of the Dolphin and the Salamander in the so-called Cagliostra, a room at the northern end of the papal apartment.

The bust of Faranacci has been placed in the Library Room of the museum, and it will remain there until the donation process is finalized in three years, according to American legislation.