ROME — Following the success of the first major Edward Hopper exhibition in Italy, the Fondazione Roma, chaired by Prof. Emmanuele Emanuele, is focussing once more on ancient art, with an outstanding new event dedicated to the rediscovery of classical antiquity in Rome in the 18th century.

Promoted by the Fondazione Roma, the exhibition Roma e l’Antico. Realtà e visione nel ‘700 (Rome and Antiquity. Reality and Vision in the 18th century) has been organized in conjunction with Arthemisia Group, its established partner in the production of art events of distinction, and springs from a partnership with the Capitoline Museums, the Vatican Museums and the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca.

The exhibition also provides the opportunity to inaugurate the new venue of the Fondazione Roma Museum in Palazzo Sciarra, where it will be till 6th March 2011.

With Palazzo Sciarra in addition to the Palazzo Cipolla museum venue on via del Corso, the Fondazione Roma is set to increase its exhibition activities, offering visitors a diversified range of high quality cultural events, with a packed programme of shows devoted to ancient, modern and contemporary art.

Prof. Emanuele explains: “The Eternal City is the main focus of the Fondazione Roma, our starting point for exploring the world around us. Following the exhibition on the fifteenth century, and our look East with Hiroshige and to America with Hopper, we are now returning to Rome, to explore the arts that flourished here in the 18th century. This was the century of the great archaeological discoveries, and in this period artists, men of letters, scholars and international collectors succumbed to the lure of antiquity. The high profile archaeological finds in the city – authentic or reproductions – launched a genuine fashion. The exhibition explores Rome’s role as a universal cultural model, with its awe-inspiring sights, monuments and the first museums. Thanks to the show a number of masterpieces which left Italy in the eighteenth century destined to enhance the most prestigious contemporary collections of antiquities are now returning from abroad, giving visitors the opportunity to witness the grandeur of the classic figurative models and enabling them to experience the appeal of a city that, in the eighteenth century, thanks to its unparalleled artistic and monumental heritage, rose to a position of undisputed pre-eminence in Europe.”

Curated by Carolina Brook and Valter Curzi, the exhibition gathers works of art and archaeological finds with the aim of highlighting the key factor in Rome’s international fame in the eighteenth century, namely Classical Antiquity, a model for the arts, learning and taste that spread throughout Europe.

With this aim in mind, an extraordinary nucleus of 140 works was selected, featuring sculptures, paintings and sophisticated pieces of decorative art, and involving important museums in Italy and abroad: as well as Rome’s most important museums, the National Galleries of Parma, Turin and Florence, the Canova Museum in Possagno, the Prado Museum, Royal Palace and Archaeological Museum in Madrid, the Louvre, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Dresden’s Museum of Archaeology, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Royal Academies of London and Madrid.

The exhibition brings together ancient masterpieces and modern works of art, with the idea of evoking the spirit of competition that animated the arts in eighteenth century Rome. The classical sculptures on show are particularly striking, including Apollo Citharoedus and the Herm of Pericles from the Vatican Museums, the Capitoline Flora and Eros, the Muse and the Head of Serapis from the Prado Museum, the Lemnian Athena from the Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Minerva d’Orsay, exceptionally on loan from the Louvre, a sophisticated example of restoration with eighteenth century additions.

The popularity of classical antiquity in the eighteenth century is also documented in the work of the leading artists of the day, who used classical culture as a favored source of inspiration: Antonio Canova, with the sculptures Venus and Adonis from the Possagno Museum and Plaster Cast Gallery and the Winged Cupid known as the Yusupov Cupid from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg; Jacques Louis David, with the outstanding academic nude of Hector, done in Rome and now kept in the Musée Fabre in Montpellier; Anton Raphael Mengs, with Parnassus, also from the Hermitage, and the famed “fake ancient” Jupiter and Ganymede from the Galleria di Palazzo Barberini; and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, here in the unusual guise of merchant of antiquities, in connection with the monumental Vase, also from the Hermitage, purchased by the Russian Empress Catherine II, which can be admired alongside the refined pieces produced by Volpato and Wedgwood, much sought after by contemporary travelers.

Also on show are works by Carlo Albacini, Pompeo Batoni, Louis Clérisseau, Benigne Gagneraux, Jean Antoine Houdon, Angelica Kauffmann, Vincenzo Pacetti, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Giacomo Quarenghi, Hubert Robert, Cristoforo Unterperger, Luigi Valadier, Gaspar Van Wittel and Anton Von Maron.

The exhibition also features a highly original and atmospheric virtual reconstruction of the lost interiors of the Domus Aurea, designed by Stefano Borghini and Raffaele Carlani. Between 1758 and 1769, thanks to Pope Clement XIII, the first organised archaeological digs were carried out on Nero’s lavish residence. Inroads had been made during the Renaissance period, but the site was excavated for the first time in the eighteenth century, bringing all the finery of its decorations to light. Modern virtual technology has been used to bring eighteenth century drawings and watercolor etchings of these ancient embellishments to life, giving us

the chance to relive the vision that would have greeted eighteenth century visitors. Visitors to the exhibition will thus be able to experience this fascinating spectacle of frescoes, stuccoes and mosaics and fully enter into the enthralling atmosphere of the rediscovery of antiquity.

The exhibition is divided into seven sections exploring the appeal of eighteenth century Rome and its extraordinarily cosmopolitan character: a city of monuments and magnificent ruins, interest in its historical past increased during the eighteenth century due to the archaeological digs which frequently brought significant finds to light. Rome was also an academic capital, a model for the whole of Europe, and home to the antiques market, a focus for dealers and scholars, collectors and enthusiasts, artists and amateurs, aristocrats and royalty. Alongside the aristocratic residences, with their collections of statues and antiquity-inspired interior decor, there were the new museums, which offered visitors an all-encompassing view of classical antiquity, giving the numerous travellers of the period a compelling experience on the Grand Tour.





Realtà e visione nel ‘700


Fondazione Roma Museo

New exhibition venue, Palazzo Sciarra

Via Marco Minghetti, Rome

Opening date

Till6 March 2011

Promoted by Fondazione Roma

Organized with Arthemisia Group

In collaboration with Musei Capitolini, Musei Vaticani, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca

Curated by Carolina Brook and Valter Curzi

Catalogue Skira

Ticket office Charta

Opening Times

Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 AM -08.00 PM

Ticket office will close at 07.00 PM

Entrance Tickets

Full rate € 10,00

Reduced rate € 8,00

Schools € 4,50

Booking Fees


Singles and groups € 1,50 ; Schools € 1,00


Information and bookings

T 892.101

Information and bookings for groups and schools

T +39 06 95557514

Tickets on line

Skira Catalogue