Roma e l’antico: Realtà e visione nel 700. Palazzo Sciarra (Rome) until March 6.

Draped in rich onyx and agate, the Minerva d’Orsay perhaps best represents the hybrid aesthetic the Fondazione Roma wants to showcase in this its first exhibition in a newly dedicated space at the Palazzo Sciarra. Originally dating from the Hadrian Era (117-138 C.E.), the Minerva d’Orsay was meticulously reconstructed according to the refined sensibilities of English and French tourists in Rome. She exemplifies the unique blend of purity and sumptuousness that was the standard of eighteenth-century aristocratic taste. The developing science of archeology helped saturate a market of ruins-turned-domestic-treasures that artisans in turn viewed as much an opportunity for creativity as restoration. A large vase of Giambattista Piranesi (1720-1778) composed of fragments dating from various periods is a fine example of the pastiche approach to restoration. It is not entirely clear if Piranesi passed these items off as originals or reproductions, but they brought in a pretty penny just the same.
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