The redecoration of the exhibition spaces at the Borghese palace and villa, undertaken together with the reinstallation of the family's vast art collections, was one of the most important events in the cultural life of eighteenth-century Rome. In this comprehensive study, Carole Paul reconstructs the planning and execution of the project and explains its multifaceted significance: its place in the history of Italian art, architecture, and interior design at a complex moment of transition from baroque to neoclassical style, as well as its unrecognized but profound influence on the development of the modern art museum.
The study shows how the installations and decorations worked together to evoke traditional themes in innovative ways. Addressed primarily to a new audience of tourists from abroad, the thematic content of the spaces celebrated the greatness of the Borghese family and of Roman tradition, while their stylistic diversity and sophistication made a case for the continued vitality – even modernity – of Roman art and culture. Designed for the exercise of a highly refined social performance, these sites helped to model the experience of art as a form of enlightened modern civility.
Contents: Introduction; The Borghese collections and the Grand Tour; The Galleria Terrena; The Villa Borghese; The casino and the decoration of the salone; The decoration of the casino's smaller rooms; Epilogue: a new era in display and viewing; Appendices; Index.
About the Author: Carole Paul is Lecturer in the Department of Art History, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA
Reviews: Winner, CAA Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant'Meticulously researched and clearly written…fills a vital niche in the expanding field of Italian Settecento studies and the history of European museology.' Jeffrey Collins, The Bard Graduate Center, USA 'This is a work of tremendous distinction and is a vital key to our growing understanding of the art and culture of the eighteenth century.'Christopher Johns, Vanderbilt University, USA‘… (a) meticulous account of the display of the Borghese collection of paintings and antiquities in eighteenth- century Rome’Times Literary Supplement‘The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour is essential reading for students of Settecento museums, architecture, design, and the Grand Tour. It confirms Prince Marcantonio Borghese IV’s redesign of the villa as an important moment in the history of the Grand Tour and the development of the museum. …Paul’s work will be indispensable.’ Caa.Review‘Paul’s book is an exceptionally important contribution to the cultural and artistic history of Rome during the eighteenth century. She is wise to let Marcantonio’s contemporaries do a lot of the talking – eighty pages of appendices conclude the study, including a ‘Register of Contracts and Payment Records’ to the army of artists and artisans who worked for the Prince. These will be of great value to scholars wishing to undertake studies of other prominent Roman families.’ The Burlington Magazine'This volume reveals just what an ambitious, bold and collaborative enterprise the redecoration of the Galleria Terrena and the Villa Borghese was. The detailed and masterful discussion of the transformation of the displays ensures that this important book will appeal to a range of readers, including art historians and those who are interested in the origins and development of public museums and galleries. The source material generously provided in the appendices will be of great value to other researchers.' Museum and Society
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