Friday, May 28, 2010

Palazzo Altemps

The Palazzo Altemps, situated in Piazza Sant'Apollinare, might be our favourite collection of classical Roman sculpture in all of Rome. It is a branch of the National Museum of Rome (Museo Nazionale Romano), which Bill and I have already described below as a must-see for anyone interested in classical antiquities. Well, the Altemps has been designed as a home for a selection of exquisite items from the larger collection, and  -- well, wait 'til you see.
The collection begins on the ground floor looking out onto the elegant courtyard and includes this set of Roman funerary portraits.
Here, I'm contemplating Dionysus and the Satyr, from the 2nd century A.D. Most of the sculpture on display is from the collection of the 17th century cardinal, Ludovico Ludovisi.
On the opulent second floor Bill has caught the two of us and a white marble sculpture of Dionysius from the 2nd century AD in the glass protecting the Mask of Papposilenus, a bronze mask from the first half of the 1st century B.C. I'm copying down the info that you've just read in the notebook I always carry.
Here's my picture of the mask. I love the way they lit it so dramatically.
 The Palazzo Altemps is a beautiful 15th century palace in itself and a stunning, frescoed, background for this superb collection.
This is a detail of a marble statue of Hermes Loghios, from the 2nd century A.D.
Herakles (Hercules), a 17th century restoration of a 1st century A.D. original.
 Out on the second floor loggia, portrait sculptures of Roman emperors are displayed amid wonderful  frescos.
The ceiling fresco is great fun.
Here is a sculpture of Settimio Severo in front of an pastoral fresco.
The detail in this  funerary sarcophagus of a Roman general is especially fine.
Just when we thought we'd seen everything we entered the Palace chapel where Bill caught  this amazing fresco.

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