The Torlonia Marbles on Display: Roman Magnificence, Top Scholarship

Bas relief with a view of the Portus Augusti (Collezione Torlonia, Rilievo con scena di porto. ©FondazioneTorlonia. Photo: Lorenzo De Masi)
Emperors good and bad, a handsome goat, fountains and friezes, seen for the first time in decades

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ast month I went to Rome to see The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces at the Capitoline Museum. How could I not? It’s the biggest collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture in private hands. Unless invited by the Torlonia family, and I’m not on the family speed dial, no one’s seen it since 1976. In terms of numbers of sculpture, depth, breadth, and quality, the Torlonia Marbles are matched, and possibly outdone, only by the public collections of the Vatican and the Campidoglio, the state museum of Roman sculpture.

“After decades of silence and shadow,” the exhibition tells us, the Torlonia


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