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Palazzo dei Conservatori

Palazzo dei Conservatori


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The Palazzo dei Conservatori is one of the buildings of Rome’s Capitoline Museums or “Musei Capitolini”. Like its counterpart Palazzo Nuovo, Palazzo dei Conservatori displays classical pieces as well as paintings.

Highlights of Palazzo dei Conservatori include a first century AD bronze sculpture known as the Spinario, which depicts a boy trying to take a thorn out of his foot and the fifth century BC Capitoline Wolf, which shows the she-wolf from the legend of Romulus and Remus.

Palazzo dei Conservatori also houses an impressive array of paintings by some of the biggest names in the art world, such as Caravaggio and Titian.

The building of the Palazzo dei Conservatori has an impressive history too, its façade having been designed by Michelangelo and it having served as Rome’s medieval magistrates court.


Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller

All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to [email protected]

Page revised in June 2020.

Links to this page can be found in Book 4, Map B3, Day 1, View C8 and Rione Campitelli.

Inside Palazzo dei Conservatori


The Capitoline

The Capitoline Hill (Italian: Campidoglio) was the fortress and asylum of Romulus’s Rome. The northern peak was the site of the Temple of Juno Moneta (the word money derives from the temple’s function as the early mint) and the citadel emplacements now occupied by the Vittoriano monument and the church of Santa Maria d’Aracoeli. The southern crest, sacred to Jupiter, became in 509 bce the site of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the largest temple in central Italy. The tufa platform on which it was built, now exposed behind and beneath the Palazzo dei Conservatori, measured 203 by 174 feet (62 by 53 metres), probably with three rows of six columns across each facade and six columns and a pilaster on either flank. The first temple, of stuccoed volcanic stone quarried at the foot of the hill, had a timber roof faced with brightly painted terra-cottas. Three times it burned and was rebuilt, always of richer materials. The temple that Domitian built was marble with gilded roof tiles and gold-plated doors. It was filled with loot by victorious generals who came robed in purple to lay their laurel crowns before Jupiter after riding in triumph through the Forum. The antique pavings of the Clivus Capitolinus, the road leading up the hill from the Forum, survive today. In this centre of divine guidance, the Roman Senate held its first meeting every year. Centuries later, in 1341, the Italian poet Petrarch was crowned with laurel among the ruins of this capitol.

The church of Santa Maria d’Aracoeli, built before the 6th century and remade in its present form in the 13th, is lined with columns rifled from Classical buildings. It is the home of “I l Bambino,” a wooden statue (originally a 15th-century statue now a copy) of the Christ Child, who is called upon to save desperately ill children.

The Capitoline today, still the seat of Roman government, is little changed from the 16th-century design conceived of by Michelangelo—one of the earliest examples of modern town planning. The resulting Piazza del Campidoglio, completed after Michelangelo’s death, is framed by three palaces: the Palazzo Senatorio, the Palazzo dei Conservatori, and the Palazzo Nuovo (opposite and identical to the older Palazzo dei Conservatori). The centrepiece of the piazza is a replica of a bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.

The Palazzo Senatorio (“Senate Palace”) incorporates remains of the facade of the Tabularium, a state records office constructed in 78 bce and one of the first buildings to use concrete vaulting and employ the arch with the Classical architectural orders. After a popular uprising in 1143 ce , a palace was built on the site for the revived 56-member Senate, supposedly elected by the people but by 1358 a body of one appointed by the pope when it was rebuilt to Michelangelo’s design, it gained its present name.

The Palazzo dei Conservatori (“Palace of the Conservators”), on the south side of the square, was the initial site of a papal collection of Classical works offered back to the citizens of Rome by Sixtus IV in 1471. Following its completion in the 17th century, the Palazzo Nuovo (“New Palace” later also called the Palazzo del Museo Capitolino [Capitoline Palace]) housed a portion of the large collection. In 1734 it was opened to the public as a museum. Now occupying both the Palazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, as well as a later private palace (Caffarelli-Clementino), the Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums) contain only objects found in Rome, including the famed bronze she-wolf, the Capitoline Venus, and the Dying Gaul, as well as a host of portrait busts that can, in imagination, repeople the Forum just below.


Palazzo dei Conservatori - History

The courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori has always represented, since the first formation of the Capitoline collections of antiquity, a sort of privileged place for the preservation of the memory of antiquity. The works that gradually flowed into the building were a sign of the cultural and temporal continuity left by the glorious ancient world.

The two porticoes on opposite sides and the large open-air space contain important examples of Roman sculpture. On the left we can see remains of the cell decoration from the Temple of the God Hadrian, with reliefs portraying the Provinces of the Roman empire and military trophies. Along the righthand wall of the courtyard, containing the embedded remains of three archways belonging to the palazzo’s original XV century structure, is a row of fragments from a colossal statue of Constantine from the Basilica of Maxentium.

The courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori is a very suggestive space of its monumental architectural elements and fragments of ancient colossal structures. From the beginning of the history of Capitoline museum, as it was customary in the palaces of the Roman nobility, some of the most significant ancient works of art were collected in the Capitoline as a witness to the greatness of Rome.

The ogee arches, which are still visible on the right side, gave access to a large room, the “statuario”, intended to house other works of ancient art.

The shape of the courtyard in the early decades of the sixteenth century, smaller than the present one and crowded by numerous archaeological finds, is known through descriptions and drawings of contemporaneous artists.

History
A porch at the entrance of the building, incorporating architectural elements of the exterior was built along with the architectural renovation of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the second half of 1500. Some of the works were moved into the halls of the Palazzo, whereas the marble fragments of a colossal statue of Constantine (306-337 AD), discovered in 1486 in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum, remained in the courtyard. The statue representing the emperor seated was built using the acrolith technique: only the nude parts were carved in marble, mounted on a carrying skeleton structure covered with a gilded bronze drapery or precious coloured marbles.

In the previous phase, the courtyard had very different proportions more spacious towards the facade due to the absence of the internal portico, it presented on the right a deep portico with pointed pointed arches in brick, supported by granite columns with ionic travertine capitals and bases also in travertine, which allowed access to the rooms of the Captain of Appellations (the appeal judge) and the Consulate of the Boattieri. There where the portico ended, a wall stood which allowed to support the ground behind the hill, cut to increase the area.

The internal facade, without windows, had a high base on which the fragments of the colossal statue of Constantine and the gilded bronze statue of Hercules had been placed. On the left wall there was an external staircase, similar to that of many noble palaces. It is probable that the three Aurelian reliefs were placed on the wall of this staircase in 1515 (sacrifice to the temple of Jupiter Capitoline, triumph of Marcus Aurelius and barbarians kneeling before Marcus Aurelius), already in Santa Martina above which there was a loggia supported by three granite columns leading into the apartments.

In the center of the courtyard there was a cistern, modified in 1522 by an architect whose only name is known (Domenico). The floor was bricked two years later and the cistern was decorated with a new marble vase on which the verses were engraved: Vas tibi condidimus-pluvia tu, Iuppiter, imple-praesidibusque tuae-rupis adesse velis.

After 1546 the fragments of the capitoline splendor were placed “at the head of the courtyard”, as Aldovrandi tells in the middle of the century. The texts were set in a marble wall designed by Michelangelo and created by Gentile Delfini, Bartolomeo Marliano and Tommaso de ‘Cavalieri.

After their discovery, the ancient stones were transported to the hill and rebuilt in the courtyard to increase the historical prestige and the ideal value inherent in them. Michelangelo decided to frame the glories with a simple and sober frame a large tympanum crowned the whole and a shrine with Corinthian capitals highlighted the central inscriptions.

In 1586 the location of the glories was modified the entire Michelangelo structure was moved to the ancient Fasti room which still takes its name from the famous inscriptions.

The courtyard was expanded in 1720 with the construction of the portico, on the back wall it was designed by Alessandro Specchi (1668-1729) to accommodate a group of sculptures of great value: the Goddess Rome and the two Barbarian prisoners from the Cesi collection, purchased by Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) for the Capitoline Museum.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the reliefs with personifications of Provinces and trophies of arms were placed in the courtyard they were found in the Temple of Hadrian in Piazza di Pietra. The reliefs depict the personifications of the provinces subject to the Roman Empire during its greatest expansion.

The colossal statue of Constantine
On the right side are the fragments of the famous colossal statue of Emperor Constantine. These are the different parts of the great statue of the emperor, found in 1486, under the pontificate of Innocent VIII, in the western apse of the basilica of Maxentius at the Roman Forum, completed by Constantine. The statue, which represented the emperor seated on the throne, according to a model referable to the statues of Jupiter, was built with the technique of ‘ acrolito: only the bare parts of the body were worked in marble, while the other parts consisted of a load-bearing structure, then disguised as gilded bronze or even stucco drapery. The head, imposing in its measurements, shows the markedly marked features of the face: the dating of the work oscillates between 313, the year of the dedication of the basilica by Constantine, and 324, when in the portraits of the emperor the diadem, the presence of which is suggested by some traces in marble.

The reliefs
On the left side are the reliefs with the provinces (Egypt, Libya, Moesia, Dacia, Gaul, Hispania and Mauritania) and trophies of arms from the temple of Hadrian in Piazza di Pietra. Some of the reliefs, marked by the conservatives’ coats of arms, were found at the end of the 16th century, while others were found, always in the same area, starting from 1883. The series of reliefs, which shows the personifications of the various provinces subject to the Empire Roman, recognizable by specific attributes, was placed as a decoration of the temple dedicated in 145 AD by Antonino Pio to his predecessor and adoptive fatherHadrian, deified after death: the care in relations with the different provinces, which led him to long journeys through the boundless extension of the Roman empire, was one of the characteristics of Hadrian’s reign. The whole right side of the temple, with 11 fluted columns surmounted by imposing Corinthian capitals, is preserved in Piazza di Pietra incorporated in the Palazzo della Borsa.

Colossal statues Group
At the bottom of the courtyard, inside the portico built by Alessandro Specchi, appears the group formed by the seated statue of Rome and by the two prisoners in bigio morato, which Clement XI purchased in 1720 from the Cesi collection. The group, already composed in this form, was reproduced in ancient engravings when it was still in the garden of the Cesi house, in the Borgo. The central figure, representing a seated divinity derived from a model of the fidiaca circle, was transformed in Rome with the addition of the typical attributes of this personification the statue rests on a base decorated in the front by a relief representing a subjected province, probably coming from the decoration of an arch of the first century AD and from two reliefs with trophies. The two colossal figures of barbarians, the heads of which were added in modern times, made particularly precious by the use of the rare gray marble, can be compared to the series of Dacian prisoners created for the decoration of the Trajan ‘s forum.

Highlights works
Colossal statue of seated Rome: “Roma Cesi”, Sculpture, Hadrianic period (117-138 BC) from a Greek original of the 5th century BC
Statue of captive barbarian king, Sculpture, 2nd century AD
Colossal statue of Constantine: head, Sculpture, 313-324 AD
Colossal statue of Constantine: right hand, Sculpture, 313-324 AD
Plinth with personification of the Province (Achaia?) From the Temple of Hadrian, Sculpture, 145 AD
Colossal head of Constantius II or Constant, Sculpture, Late Constantine age

Palazzo dei Conservatori
The Palazzo dei Conservatori is located in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, next to the Palazzo Senatorio and in front of the Palazzo Nuovo. The Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, together with the Tabularium, currently constitute the exhibition site of the Capitoline Museums, among the most representative and visited Roman museums.

The building known as Palazzo dei Conservatori, seat of an elected magistrature which had the task of administering the city, goes back to the middle of the 15th century. The building originally featured a portico on the ground floor and Guelf-cross windows on the first floor, in addition to a row of small windows on the mezzanine floor.

Michelangelo re-designed the facade, adding gigantic Corinthian pilaster strips on high pedestals, flanked by pillars in the portico on the ground floor. As in the case of Palazzo Senatorio, the building was crowned with a balustrade and statues.

The transformation of the building also affected its interior configuration, as a result of alterations to the windows on the first floor. The central one was eventually created by Giacomo della Porta and is much larger than the others, making an exception to Michelangelo’s plan.

Capitoline Museums
The Musei Capitolini date back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated to the people of Rome a group of bronze statues that until then had been kept at the Lateran. These statues constituted its original core collection. Various popes subsequently expanded the collection with works taken from excavations around Rome some were moved from the Vatican, some, such as the Albani collection, were bought specifically for the museum. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, Pope Benedict XIV created a picture gallery. A considerable quantity of archaeological material was also added at the end of the nineteenth century when Rome became the capital of Italy and new excavations were carried out whilst creating two completely new districts were created for the expanding city.

The Museums’ collections are displayed in the two of the three buildings that together enclose the Piazza del Campidoglio: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, the third being the Palazzo Senatorio. These two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel, which contains the Galleria Lapidaria and leads to the ancient Tabularium, whose monumental arches overlook the Forum.

The Palazzo Nuovo houses the collections of ancient sculpture made by the great noble families of the past. Their charming arrangement has remained substantially unchanged since the eighteenth century. They include the famous collections of busts of Roman philosophers and emperors, the statue of Capitoline Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, and the imposing statue of Marforio that dominates the courtyard.

The Conservators’ Apartment contains the original architectural nucleus of the building, decorated with splendid frescoes portraying the history of Rome. The ancient Capitoline bronzes on display here add to the noble atmosphere: the Capitoline She-wolf, Spinario and the Capitoline Brutus.

On the first floor of the palace, a huge glass room, recently built, contains the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which once stood in the Piazza del Campidoglio, and the imposing remains of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter. A section is also dedicated to the most ancient part of the Campidoglio’s history, from its first inhabitation until the construction of the sacred building, displaying the results of recent excavations. The halls that overlook the room contain works from the Horti of the Esquiline the hall which connects the room to the apartments of the Palazzo dei Conservatori contains the Castellani collection, testimony to nineteenth century collecting practices.

On the second floor, the Capitoline Picture Gallery contains many important works, arranged in chronological order from late mediaeval times to the eighteenth century. The collection includes paintings by Caravaggio (Good Luck and St. John the Baptist), a massive canvas by Guercino (Burial of Saint Petronilla) and numerous paintings by Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona.

The Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino holds the numismatic collection, known as the Medagliere Capitolino. On display are many rare coins, medals, gems and jewels, as well as an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions.


Palazzo dei Conservatori - History

The first of the rooms that look towards the city is called “Sala dei Trionfi” because in 1569 some frescoes were commissioned inside, to the painters Michele Alberti and Iacopo Rocchetti (both pupils of Daniele da Volterra ). The frieze represents the triumph of the Roman consul Lucius Emilio Paolo over Perseus of Macedonia, which took place in 167 BC according to what the historian Plutarch handed down to us. And also for this room other paintings have been made such as: “La deposition” by Paolo Piazza (from 1614 ), “Santa Francesca Romana “by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (from 1638 ), the” Vittoria di Alessandro su Dario “by Pietro da Cortona.

The frescoed frieze which runs along the upper part of the walls was commissioned from Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti in 1569. It portrays the Triumph of Lucius Aemilius Paullus over the King of Macedonia Perseus with the Capitoline and the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the background. The coffered wooden ceiling is the only one left among those carried out in the Palazzo by Flaminio Bolonger. This room also contains some large bronze sculptures: the Capitoline Brutus, the Spinario and the Camillus. The wooden ceiling is due to Flaminio Boulanger, who carried out the works in 1568.

The hall takes its name from a fresco that runs below the ceiling, which depicts the triumph of the Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus over Perseus, king of Macedon (167 BC). The fresco, which was painted in 1569 by Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti, faithfully describes the ceremony as told by of the Greek historian Plutarch, goods and works stolen from the enemy as spoils of war were paraded for four days. The places and the buildings of Renaissance Rome are the backdrop of the sumptuous procession of the winner up to the Capitol, recognizable for its depiction of the new facade of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which in those years was being built.

The magnificent triumphal processions are also evoked by the beautiful bronze vase kept in the room. The work is likely to have come to Rome as a booty of the war of conquest in the East in the I century BC. An inscription engraved on the board shows the name of Mithridates VI (Eupator Dionysius), king of Pontus between 120 and 63 BC.

The hall displays, among other works, some precious antique bronzes: the Boy with Thorn, also known as Cavaspina, which reproduces a young man removing a thorn from his foot, an eclectic work of the first century BC., and Camillus, also known as the Gypsy, representing a young cult officiant, both works were donated by Sixtus IV in 1471. The Capitoline Brutus is outstanding, one of the oldest Roman portraits, dating from the fourth or third century BC, it was donated in 1564 to the Capitol.

The wooden ceiling was carved in 1568 by Bolonger the recent restoration has brought to light the elegant tone of colour, besides the abundance and variety of carvings.

Highlights works
Crater of Mithridates V Eupatore, Ceramics, 120-63 BC
Triumph of Lucio Emilio Paolo over Perseo, Fresco, Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti, 1569
Spinario, Sculpture, 1st century BC
Camillo, Sculpture, 1st century AD
Capitoline Brutus, Sculpture, 4th-3rd century BC

Conservators’ Apartment
The rooms making up the apartment on the first floor of the Palazzo, were used by the Conservators, or magistrates, for activities connected to their office they therefore form a single entity, both as regards their function and their ornamental features. The rooms were also used for Public and Private Council meetings. The rich decoration of these reception rooms (frescoes, stuccoes, carved ceilings and doors, tapestries) has as its main theme the history of Ancient Rome, from its foundation to the Republican Age. The earliest cycle of frescoes goes back to the beginning of the XVI century.

The main floor of the Palace houses the Ceremonial Rooms of the Conservators, also known as the Apartment. They are the oldest part of the Palace: some rooms preserve parts of the series of frescoes painted at the beginning of the XVI century, whereas the decorations of the other rooms were renewed after Michelangelo’s renovation.

The whole decoration of the Apartment, though it was painted separately and subsequently, present a uniform appearance dedicated to the extolling and memory of the virtues and value of the Ancients. Some ancient bronze sculptures were also installed in these rooms: they were presented by Pope Sixtus IV to the Roman people due to their symbolic value, in memory of the greatness of Rome which the papal government intended to renew.

The donation of the Sistine bronzes is considered to be the foundation of Capitoline Museums, since then several works of art, sculpture and paintings of value, were collected in the Capitol.

Capitoline Museums
The Musei Capitolini date back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated to the people of Rome a group of bronze statues that until then had been kept at the Lateran. These statues constituted its original core collection. Various popes subsequently expanded the collection with works taken from excavations around Rome some were moved from the Vatican, some, such as the Albani collection, were bought specifically for the museum. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, Pope Benedict XIV created a picture gallery. A considerable quantity of archaeological material was also added at the end of the nineteenth century when Rome became the capital of Italy and new excavations were carried out whilst creating two completely new districts were created for the expanding city.

The Museums’ collections are displayed in the two of the three buildings that together enclose the Piazza del Campidoglio: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, the third being the Palazzo Senatorio. These two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel, which contains the Galleria Lapidaria and leads to the ancient Tabularium, whose monumental arches overlook the Forum.

The Palazzo Nuovo houses the collections of ancient sculpture made by the great noble families of the past. Their charming arrangement has remained substantially unchanged since the eighteenth century. They include the famous collections of busts of Roman philosophers and emperors, the statue of Capitoline Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, and the imposing statue of Marforio that dominates the courtyard.

The Conservators’ Apartment contains the original architectural nucleus of the building, decorated with splendid frescoes portraying the history of Rome. The ancient Capitoline bronzes on display here add to the noble atmosphere: the Capitoline She-wolf, Spinario and the Capitoline Brutus.

On the first floor of the palace, a huge glass room, recently built, contains the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which once stood in the Piazza del Campidoglio, and the imposing remains of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter. A section is also dedicated to the most ancient part of the Campidoglio’s history, from its first inhabitation until the construction of the sacred building, displaying the results of recent excavations. The halls that overlook the room contain works from the Horti of the Esquiline the hall which connects the room to the apartments of the Palazzo dei Conservatori contains the Castellani collection, testimony to nineteenth century collecting practices.

On the second floor, the Capitoline Picture Gallery contains many important works, arranged in chronological order from late mediaeval times to the eighteenth century. The collection includes paintings by Caravaggio (Good Luck and St. John the Baptist), a massive canvas by Guercino (Burial of Saint Petronilla) and numerous paintings by Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona.

The Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino holds the numismatic collection, known as the Medagliere Capitolino. On display are many rare coins, medals, gems and jewels, as well as an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions.


Courtyard

The two porticoes on opposite sides and the large open-air space contain important examples of Roman sculpture.
On the left we can see remains of the cell decoration from the Temple of the God Hadrian, with reliefs portraying the Provinces of the Roman empire and military trophies.
Along the righthand wall of the courtyard, containing the embedded remains of three archways belonging to the palazzo's original XV century structure, is a row of fragments from a colossal statue of Constantine from the Basilica of Maxentium.

The courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori is a very suggestive space of its monumental architectural elements and fragments of ancient colossal structures. From the beginning of the history of Capitoline museum, as it was customary in the palaces of the Roman nobility, some of the most significant ancient works of art were collected in the Capitoline as a witness to the greatness of Rome.

The ogee arches, which are still visible on the right side, gave access to a large room, the “statuario”, intended to house other works of ancient art.

The shape of the courtyard in the early decades of the sixteenth century, smaller than the present one and crowded by numerous archaeological finds, is known through descriptions and drawings of contemporaneous artists.

A porch at the entrance of the building, incorporating architectural elements of the exterior was built along with the architectural renovation of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the second half of 1500.
Some of the works were moved into the halls of the Palazzo, whereas the marble fragments of a colossal statue of Constantine (306-337 AD), discovered in 1486 in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum, remained in the courtyard. The statue representing the emperor seated was built using the acrolith technique: only the nude parts were carved in marble, mounted on a carrying skeleton structure covered with a gilded bronze drapery or precious coloured marbles.

The courtyard was expanded in 1720 with the construction of the portico, on the back wall it was designed by Alessandro Specchi (1668-1729) to accommodate a group of sculptures of great value: the Goddess Rome and the two Barbarian prisoners from the Cesi collection, purchased by Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) for the Capitoline Museum.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the reliefs with personifications of Provinces and trophies of arms were placed in the courtyard they were found in the Temple of Hadrian in Piazza di Pietra. The reliefs depict the personifications of the provinces subject to the Roman Empire during its greatest expansion.


Most of the artistic features of the Palazzo dei Conservatori are neither independent nor dependent on one artistic generational style.

Michelangelo was tasked with bringing the entire Capitoline Hill from a state of derelict and thus made his designs for every particular building and the Piazza bearing in mind what artistic or structural significance other structures of the Capitoline had or played.

For the sake of discussing all that Michelangelo had in mind when working on the Palazzo dei Conservatori, it is crucial to have a few historical facts at the fingertips.

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

Through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in the one thousand years that the Romans had hegemony in close to the whole world, the Capitoline Hill served as the locale of power. It was the epicentre of all the might and the steadfast grip that the Romans had in the world: not in entirety but in a façade of generality.

Rome came to a civil war and tragedy as precarious events occurred to prominent personalities who came to tragic demises. By the onset of the Renaissance period, Julius Caesar had been stabbed to death in the Senate, and bureaucratic wars had besieged the Capitoline Hill which drifted from its symbolic importance to an untidy execution site. In a bid to reinstate the Zenith of Roman Rule from the gradual decline the papal structures were subjecting it to by blotting it and enervating the Capitol Hill, Emperor Charles V decided to visit Rome. Pope Paul III Farnese contracted Michelangelo to rejuvenate the glory of the Piazza del Campidoglio to save face and perhaps avoid bad politics. It is important to note that though Michelangelo did not oversee the complete overhaul of the pillaged state of the symbolic garden and buildings, his very design and plan for the Piazza del Campidoglio is profoundly present in the modernized structures.

Michelangelo’s work on Palazzo dei Conservatori

Michelangelo transformed the Palazzo dei Conservatori by redesigning its façade to implore glory and glamour out of the ancient and modern visitors of Rome. He first added a few robust Corinthian pilaster strips. He placed them on high pedestals and then incorporated gigantic pillars to accentuate the feel of power and stability. He went further to wow all and sundry by constructing the Palazzo Nuovo just opposite it from ground up. Though it was a building by its own right, art critics view it as an adornment for the Palazzo dei Conservatori as it is its exact replica from the front: a mirror image of the initial and historic building. Modern architects describe the two buildings, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo as identical in design and dimensions: something which is near impossible to achieve.

How so much art?

The significance of the Palazzo dei Conservatori dates from ancient Roman history. The building which stands on the right side of the Piazza del Campidoglio was initially constructed to serve as a palace for conservators. Conservators were state officials who along with the Senate, administered Rome as magistrates. It stood on the very ground that once served as the foundation for the temple of Jupiter.

As part of the Capitoline Museums, the building, after its refurbishment by Michelangelo, hosts some of the most expensive and symbolic art forms from various historic ages like the antiquity, the medieval ages and the Renaissance Period. Most of the art was donated by Pope Sixtus IV, the majority of which were ancient bronze relics Roman, Greek and Egypt in decent and design.

Sculptures that Palazzo dei Conservatori is famous for

Most of the sculpture collections here hail from Rome, Greece, and Egypt. The exquisite honorary monument adorns the main staircase to Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The monument was made in sheer bronze and was fabricated in honour of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Michelangelo knew it would have been melted at first sight and that the Catholic Church could have reprimanded him and thus led people to think it was for the honour of Christian Emperor Constantine. It was allowed to stand at the centre of the square gardens until 1981 when it was taken into the Palazzo dei Conservatori for preservation and was replaced by a replica.

The second floor features the magistrates’ apartment and installed by fine interior artistic impressions like carved surfaces like ceilings and tapestries. It also houses an emblem of Rome, the bronze sculpture of a she-wolf nursing the twins Romulus and Remus.

The third floor acts as the functional museum of the museum building. It holds in it the Capitoline Art Gallery and houses most the museum’s art galleries. Visitors on the third floor are treated to sight of the Capitoline Coin Cabinet, numerous applied art crafts, medals, authentic and antiquated jewels and jewellery.

Other attractive features of Palazzo dei Conservatori

When of Michelangelo or not and whether of Renaissance or not, one of the Palazzo dei Conservatori most thrilling visits includes the New wing that features a great glass covered hall. The over glass-covered hall is of Michelangelo design as it replicates the design of the Piazza. The Marcus Aurelius sculpture that was initially installed in the piazza under Michelangelo’s directive acts as the hall’s centrepiece, and it is a magnificent sight to behold. Its history accentuates the grandiose feel of the hall making it a phenomenal place for tourists to visit.

Beneath the Palazzo dei Conservatori, visitors of the museum are treated to an underground art exhibition. Famous as Galleria Congiunzione, the gallery links all the three buildings of the piazza and hosts the ruins of early centuries of Roman inhabitation. The underground gallery successfully endeavours to put visitors in a nostalgic mood.

In the profound nature of the Renaissance Architecture, Palazzo dei Conservatori truly epitomizes the very best that the Renaissance architecture had to offer. And it was so good that it continues to marvel the whole world attracting millions of international tourist to travel to Rome just to see it.


Indice

Il palazzo deve il suo nome per essere stato, quasi ininterrottamente per ben quattro secoli, la sede della magistratura elettiva cittadina, i Conservatori appunto, che, insieme al Senatore, amministravano la città. Esso fu fatto erigere da Niccolò V per rimarcare il potere del pontefice e la sua superiorità sulle autorità civiche.

Fino al XV secolo, la facciata del palazzo era caratterizzata da dodici arcate al pian terreno e di una serie di sei finestre guelfe al piano nobile. [1] La nuova facciata fu disegnata da Michelangelo Buonarroti (che successivamente ridisegnò anche la piazza antistante), il quale però morì prima del termine dei lavori. Il suo progetto modificò dunque la facciata tardo-medievale originaria del palazzo, sostituendo il portico con alte paraste poste su grandi piedistalli le finestre piccole furono sostituite da una serie di finestre più ampie, tutte delle stesse dimensioni. I lavori furono continuati da Guido Guidetti e terminati nel 1568 da Giacomo Della Porta che seguì quasi fedelmente i disegni michelangioleschi, ad eccezione di una più ampia sala di rappresentanza al primo piano (e, conseguentemente, anche una finestra più grande rispetto alle altre).

Il cortile del palazzo dei Conservatori ha sempre rappresentato, fin dalla prima formazione delle raccolte capitoline di antichità, una sorta di luogo privilegiato per la conservazione della memoria dell'antichità. Le opere che via via affluivano nel palazzo erano segno della continuità culturale e temporale lasciata dal glorioso mondo antico.

Il suo aspetto nel XVI secolo Modifica

Nella fase precedente a quella attuale, il cortile aveva delle proporzioni molto diverse più spazioso verso la facciata a causa dell'assenza del portico interno, presentava sulla destra un profondo porticato ad archi acuti ogivali in mattoni, sostenuti da colonne in granito con capitelli ionici di travertino e basi anch'esse in travertino, che permettevano l'accesso alle stanze del Capitano delle Appellazioni (il giudice d'appello) e del Consolato dei Boattieri. Lì dove terminava il portico, si ergeva un muro che permetteva di sostenere il terreno retrostante al colle, tagliato per accrescere l'area.

La facciata interna, priva di finestre, presentava un'alta base sulla quale erano stati collocati i frammenti della statua colossale di Costantino e la statua di Ercole in bronzo dorato. Alla parete sinistra si appoggiava una scala esterna, simile a quella di molti palazzi nobiliari. È probabile che sul muro di questa scala nel 1515 fossero collocati i tre rilievi aureliani (sacrificio al tempio di Giove Capitolino, trionfo di Marco Aurelio e barbari inginocchiati davanti a Marco Aurelio), già in Santa Martina sopra i quali si apriva una loggia retta da tre colonne di granito che immetteva negli appartamenti.

Al centro del cortile si trovava una cisterna, modificata nel 1522 ad opera di un architetto di cui si conosce solo il nome (Domenico). Il pavimento venne mattonato due anni dopo e la cisterna fu decorata con un nuovo vaso marmoreo sul quale vennero incisi i versi: Vas tibi condidimus-pluvia tu, Iuppiter, imple-praesidibusque tuae-rupis adesse velis.

Dopo il 1546 i frammenti dei fasti capitolini furono collocati "in capo al cortiglio", come racconta alla metà del secolo Aldovrandi. I testi vennero incastonati in una parete marmorea disegnata da Michelangelo e realizzata da Gentile Delfini, Bartolomeo Marliano e Tommaso de' Cavalieri.

Dopo il loro rinvenimento, le antiche pietre furono trasportate sul colle e ricostruite nel cortile per incrementare il prestigio storico e il valore ideale insito in esse. Michelangelo decise di incorniciare i fasti con una cornice semplice e sobria un grande timpano coronava l'insieme e un'edicola a capitelli corinzi metteva in risalto le iscrizioni centrali.

Nel 1586 la collocazione dei fasti fu modificata l'intera struttura michelangiolesca fu spostata nella sala dei Fasti antichi che ancora oggi prende il nome dalle celebri iscrizioni.

Il cortile oggi Modifica

La statua colossale di Costantino Modifica

Sul lato destro si trovano i frammenti della celebre statua colossale dell'imperatore Costantino. Si tratta delle diverse parti della grande statua dell'imperatore, rinvenute nel 1486, sotto il pontificato di Innocenzo VIII, nell'abside occidentale della basilica di Massenzio al Foro Romano, portata a termine da Costantino. La statua, che rappresentava l'imperatore seduto in trono, secondo un modello riferibile alle statue di Giove, era costruita con la tecnica dell'acrolito: solo le parti nude del corpo erano lavorate in marmo, mentre le altre parti erano costituite da una struttura portante, poi mascherata da panneggi in bronzo dorato o addirittura di stucco. La testa, imponente nelle sue misure, mostra i tratti del volto spiccatamente segnati: la datazione dell'opera oscilla tra il 313, anno della dedica della basilica da parte di Costantino, e il 324, quando nei ritratti dell'imperatore comincia ad apparire il diadema, la cui presenza è suggerita da alcune tracce nel marmo.

I rilievi Modifica

Sul lato sinistro sono sistemati i rilievi con le province (l'Egitto, la Libia, la Moesia, la Dacia, la Gallia, l'Hispania e la Mauritania) e i trofei d'armi provenienti dal tempio di Adriano a piazza di Pietra. Alcuni dei rilievi, contrassegnati dagli stemmi dei conservatori, furono rinvenuti alla fine del XVI secolo, mentre gli altri vennero ritrovati, sempre nella stessa zona, a partire dal 1883. La serie dei rilievi, che mostra le personificazioni delle diverse province assoggettate all'Impero romano, riconoscibili dagli specifici attributi, era posta a decorazione del tempio dedicato nel 145 d.C. da Antonino Pio al suo predecessore e padre adottivo Adriano, divinizzato dopo la morte: la cura nei rapporti con le diverse province, che lo portarono a lunghi viaggi attraverso la sconfinata estensione dell'impero romano, fu una delle caratteristiche del regno di Adriano. Tutto il fianco destro del tempio, con 11 colonne scanalate sormontate da imponenti capitelli corinzi, si conserva in piazza di Pietra inglobato nel palazzo della Borsa.

Gruppo di statue colossali Modifica

Sul fondo del cortile, all'interno del portico costruito da Alessandro Specchi, appare il gruppo formato dalla statua seduta di Roma e dai due prigionieri in bigio morato, che Clemente XI acquistò nel 1720 dalla collezione Cesi. Il gruppo, già composto in questa forma, venne riprodotto in antiche incisioni quando ancora si trovava nel giardino di casa Cesi, in Borgo. La figura centrale, che rappresenta una divinità seduta derivata da un modello della cerchia fidiaca, fu trasformata in Roma con l'aggiunta degli attributi tipici di questa personificazione la statua poggia su una base decorata nella parte anteriore da un rilievo rappresentante una provincia assoggettata, proveniente probabilmente dalla decorazione di un arco del I secolo d.C. e da due rilievi con trofei. Le due figure colossali di barbari, le teste dei quali sono state aggiunte in epoca moderna, rese particolarmente preziose dall'uso del raro marmo bigio, possono essere avvicinate alla serie dei prigionieri Daci creata per la decorazione del foro di Traiano.

Oltre al celebre cortile, un altro luogo notevole è l'Appartamento dei Conservatori, ovvero la serie di sale di rappresentanza dei magistrati cittadini. In particolare, la grande Sala degli Orazi e dei Curiazi è talvolta utilizzata ancora oggi per eventi istituzionali. Tra le altre sale più celebri, la Sala della Lupa, che ospita la celebre scultura della Lupa Capitolina simbolo della città, opera forse di epoca Medievale.

In Epoca moderna, il Palazzo ha ospitato la firma del Trattato di Roma nel 1957 alla presenza dei rappresentanti delle sei paesi fondatori della Comunità Economica Europea. Tale evento è stato tenuto nella grande Sala degli Orazi e dei Curiazi. Tale firma è stata celebrata sessant'anni dopo, nel 2017, nella stessa sala, alla presenza dei 27 rappresentanti dell'Unione Europea.

Il 29 ottobre 2004 la Sala degli Orazi e i Curiazi ha ospitato la firma della Costituzione europea.


Palazzo dei Conservatori - History

The rooms making up the apartment on the first floor of the Palazzo, were used by the Conservators, or magistrates, for activities connected to their office they therefore form a single entity, both as regards their function and their ornamental features. The rooms were also used for Public and Private Council meetings.

The rich decoration of these reception rooms (frescoes, stuccoes, carved ceilings and doors, tapestries) has as its main theme the history of Ancient Rome, from its foundation to the Republican Age. The earliest cycle of frescoes goes back to the beginning of the XVI century.

Hall of the Horatii and Curiatii
The fresco decoration of this large room was carried out by Cavalier d’Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari) at the end XVI century and the beginning of the XVII century.

Originally conceived as tapestries to be hung along the walls, these frescoes portray historical episodes of Ancient Rome, which also inspire the monochrome medallions below.

Two monumental statues of popes face each other on the two smaller sides of the room: the one portraying Urban VIII is in marble and was carried out by Bernini and his pupils, while the bronze statue of Innocent X is the work of Algardi.

Hall of the Captains
The frescoes on the wall, by Tommaso Laureti, date back to the end of the XVI century. They refer to the early Republican Age and portray exemplary episodes of ancient Roman valour in the form of tapestries.

The Room also contains stone tablets and portrait statues commemorating famous men and Captains of the Pontifical Militia.

Hall of Hannibal
Of all the rooms in the fifteenth-century Palazzo dei Conservatori, this is the only room that has maintained its original proportions.

The frescoed decoration dating back to the first decade of the XVI century and traditionally attributed to Jacopo Ripanda celebrates episodes of the Punic Wars in four scenes underneath runs a long frieze with niches containing busts of Roman generals.

he wooden ceiling, carried out a short time after the frescoed decoration, bears a carved image of the Capitoline She-Wolf at its centre.

Chapel
The chapel is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, patron saints of Rome, who are portrayed in the ceiling frescoes that were executed at the same time as the stucco decorations by Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti in the third decade of the XVI century.

The painting is on slate and shows Our Lady in glory between Saints Peter and Paul, who place the city of Rome under the protection of the Virgin. Paintings portraying the four Evangelists and other saints completed the decoration of the Chapel in the seventeenth century.

Hall of the Tapestries
The frescoed frieze, portraying scenes from the life of Scipio Africanus and embellished with reproductions of ancient statues, was carried out in the mid-XVI century at the same time as the gilded and carved wooden ceiling. In the XVIII century a throne was installed to be used during papal visits and the room was decorated with tapestries from the Roman factory of San Michele and richly carved furniture.

The cartoons of the tapestries by Domenico Corvi show historical and legendary episodes of ancient Rome, reproducing paintings by important artists, including Rubens and Poussin.

Hall of the Triumphs
The frescoed frieze which runs along the upper part of the walls was commissioned from Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti in 1569.

It portrays the Triumph of Lucius Aemilius Paullus over the King of Macedonia Perseus with the Capitoline and the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the background.

The coffered wooden ceiling is the only one left among those carried out in the Palazzo by Flaminio Bolonger.

This room also contains some large bronze sculptures: the Capitoline Brutus, the Spinario and the Camillus.

Hall of the She-wolf
Ever since the middle of the 16th century, when it was an open three-arched loggia, this room has contained the bronze Capitoline She-wolf, which has become the symbol of Rome.

Embedded in the walls are fragments of Consular and Triumphal Fasti, lists of magistrates and triumphal victors from the time of the republic to the Augustan Age discovered in the Roman Forum and part of an arch dedicated to Augustus.

The pictorial wall decoration, dating back to the first decade of the XVI century and traditionally attributed to Jacopo Ripanda, is rather fragmentary and difficult to decipher.

Hall of the Geese
The room’s pictorial decorations date back to the mid-XVI century, during the papacy of Pope Paul III

The frieze consists of small panels, with playful scenes set against a background of real or imaginary landscapes, alternating with military trophies and floral and fruit triumphs.

The two bronze geese that give the room its name were placed here in the XVIII century, together with a bronze vase in the shape of a bust of Isis and a head of Medusa by Bernini.

Hall of the Eagles
The fine wooden ceiling features painted landscapes alternating with carved gilded rosettes. The frieze below, of the same period as that in the Hall of the Geese, features a series of panels portraying views of Rome, and oval medallions showing minor episodes from the history of Republican Rome.

A small bronze and marble statue is a small-scale replica of the Hellenistic statue from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus embellished with symbols of fertility and heads of animals. Two marble eagles give the room its name.

Capitoline Museums
The Musei Capitolini date back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated to the people of Rome a group of bronze statues that until then had been kept at the Lateran. These statues constituted its original core collection. Various popes subsequently expanded the collection with works taken from excavations around Rome some were moved from the Vatican, some, such as the Albani collection, were bought specifically for the museum. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, Pope Benedict XIV created a picture gallery. A considerable quantity of archaeological material was also added at the end of the nineteenth century when Rome became the capital of Italy and new excavations were carried out whilst creating two completely new districts were created for the expanding city.

The Museums’ collections are displayed in the two of the three buildings that together enclose the Piazza del Campidoglio: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, the third being the Palazzo Senatorio. These two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel, which contains the Galleria Lapidaria and leads to the ancient Tabularium, whose monumental arches overlook the Forum.

The Palazzo Nuovo houses the collections of ancient sculpture made by the great noble families of the past. Their charming arrangement has remained substantially unchanged since the eighteenth century. They include the famous collections of busts of Roman philosophers and emperors, the statue of Capitoline Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, and the imposing statue of Marforio that dominates the courtyard.

The Conservators’ Apartment contains the original architectural nucleus of the building, decorated with splendid frescoes portraying the history of Rome. The ancient Capitoline bronzes on display here add to the noble atmosphere: the Capitoline She-wolf, Spinario and the Capitoline Brutus.

On the first floor of the palace, a huge glass room, recently built, contains the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which once stood in the Piazza del Campidoglio, and the imposing remains of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter. A section is also dedicated to the most ancient part of the Campidoglio’s history, from its first inhabitation until the construction of the sacred building, displaying the results of recent excavations. The halls that overlook the room contain works from the Horti of the Esquiline the hall which connects the room to the apartments of the Palazzo dei Conservatori contains the Castellani collection, testimony to nineteenth century collecting practices.

On the second floor, the Capitoline Picture Gallery contains many important works, arranged in chronological order from late mediaeval times to the eighteenth century. The collection includes paintings by Caravaggio (Good Luck and St. John the Baptist), a massive canvas by Guercino (Burial of Saint Petronilla) and numerous paintings by Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona.

The Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino holds the numismatic collection, known as the Medagliere Capitolino. On display are many rare coins, medals, gems and jewels, as well as an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions.


Palazzo dei Conservatori - History

The landings on the main staircase that leads to the upper floors feature large historical reliefs which originally were used to decorate public monuments. Three panels from a triumphal arch refer to the exploits of Marcus Aurelius and are lined up on the first landing, while another three portraying the Emperor Hadrian are distributed one on each landing. On the top floor, on either side of the entrance to the Picture Gallery, two splendid panels inlaid with coloured marble from the Basilica Iunii Bassi on the Esquiline face each other. The main staircase was built Around the year 1570, while working on the new facade of the Palazzo, replacing the fifteenth-century outside staircase: the two big ramps overlooked a small open courtyard which was closed in the early twentieth century. The third flight of stairs was built in early 1900s to facilitate access to the gallery, and it was expanded in those years with the creation of the Cini Gallery.

From the courtyard to go up to the first floor there is access to a staircase where there are some reliefs, three of which were part of a triumphal arch dedicated to Marcus Aurelius and arrived in the Capitol since 1515. They belonged to a series of twelve reliefs (eight of which were re-used on the arch of Constantine and one last, disappeared, of which a fragment remains, in Copenhagen ). The reliefs, carved in two stages, in 173 and 176 had been attributed to an arcus aureus or arcus Panis Aurei in Capitolio cited by medieval sources and which stood on the slopes of the Capitol, at the crossroads between thevia Lata and the clivus Argentarius, not far from the church of Santi Luca e Martina, where the three reliefs of the Capitoline Museums had been reused. or perhaps near the column of Marcus Aurelius as a monumental entrance to the portico surrounding the “colchide” monument.

Two others instead belonged to a triumphal arch called “of Portugal” (transferred to the Capitol in 1664, after the destruction of the arch), concerning instead the figure of the emperor Publius Elio Traiano Adriano. In the first panel Adriano witnesses the apotheosis of his wife Vibia Sabina, in the second he is greeted by the goddess Roma and the genius of the Senate and the Roman people. A third panel, on the other hand, comes from Piazza Sciarra, always concerning the emperor Hadrian, and was purchased in 1573 by the Conservatories to complete the decorative cycle.

Then we find two wonderful mosaics with tiger and calf, almost symmetrical to each other (both 1.24 m high by 1.84 m wide). These would be two panels in opus sectile, built in colored marble (Roman works of the second quarter of the fourth century ), coming from the Basilica of Giunio Basso on the Esquiline, the Roman consul of 317. Two other smaller panels are instead kept in the National Roman Museum of Palazzo Massimo.

1st Shelf
Between 1572 and 1573, four great Roman historical reliefs, from monuments in honour of Hadrian (117-138 AD) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD), were placed on the walls. The historical and artistic importance of these reliefs is very great, they are the typical expression of ancient Roman art, in which in the main events of the wars or the celebration of religious ceremonies are depicted.

Starting from the left, are: Hadrian’s Adventus: the relief, that comes from Piazza Sciarra, is the preserved part of an honorary arch located near the temple to the deified Emperor: it depicts Hadrian entering Rome (probably returning from the Roman-Jewish war in 134 AD), through a door in the wall, welcomed by the goddess Roma and the personifications of the Senate and Roman people. The other three historic reliefs are probably from a triumphal arch dedicated to Marcus Aurelius on the occasion of his victories over the Sarmatians and the Germans in 176 AD in the Capitoline since 1515, the reliefs come from the Church of Saints Luke and Martina in the Roman Forum:

Imperial clemency: Marcus Aurelius is portrayed in an attitude very similar to the one of the equestrian statue at the centre of the square: on horseback, wearing military uniform, with his right arm outstretched, a gesture of clemency towards kneeling barbarian prisoners.

Imperial victory: Marcus Aurelius celebrates triumph over the defeated enemy. On a chariot drawn by four horses, Marcus Aurelius enters Rome accompanied by a winged Victory.

Imperial religiosity: Marcus Aurelius, in civilian clothes and with his head veiled, offers a sacrifice at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, where all the triumphal processions ended.

2nd Shelf
The construction of the monumental staircase is enhanced by charming stuccoes decorating the vaults, drawn by Luzio Luzi in 1575, depicting the glorification of Roman virtues and monuments of civilization. Other stuccoes feature scenes from the Old and New Testament.

A great historical relief has been placed next to the door that gives way to the hall of the Horatii and Curiatii it comes from the “ Arch of Portugal” on Via del Corso, demolished in 1662. Two reliefs from an arch dedicated to Hadrian were inserted in this monument, of the late ancient period, probably built in the vicinity of the temple deified emperor, in the Campus Martius. The relief depicts Hadrian on a podium, while presiding at a ceremony where food is given to Roman children.

3rd Shelf
On the left is a great historical relief from the Arch of Portugal: it depicts the apotheosis of the Empress Sabina, who was the wife of Hadrian and deified after her death. The emperor, seated on a throne, with the personification of the Campus Martius, is present at the apotheosis of Sabina who emerges from a funeral pyre on the shoulders of a winged female figure, identified as the personification of Eternity.

On the same shelf there are two coloured marble inlay panels, representing tigers assaulting a calf. These are two of the few remaining elements of the rich marble decoration of the so-called Basilica of Junius Bassus on the Esquiline Hill. The walls of the great hall, built by Junius Bassus in 317 AD during his consulate, were covered with beautiful polychrome marble inlays.

Highlights works
Relief from honorary monument of Marcus Aurelius: submission of the Germans. Sculpture. 176-180 AD
Relief from honorary monument of Marcus Aurelius: triumph. Sculpture. 176-180 AD
Relief from honorary monument of Marcus Aurelius: sacrifice to Capitoline Jupiter. Sculpture. 176-180 AD
Relief from the Arch of Portugal: giving food aid to Roman children. Sculpture. 2nd century AD
Opus sectile panel with tiger attacking a calf. Mosaic / Intarsia. First half of 4th century AD
Relief from the Arch of Portugal: apotheosis of Sabina. Sculpture. 2nd century AD
Sarcophagus with marine thiasos and inscription of Promotus. Funerary monument and ornaments. First half of 3rd century AD 4th-5th century AD (inscription)
Opus sectile panel with tiger attacking a calf. Mosaic / Intarsia. Second quarter of 4th century AD

Palazzo dei Conservatori
The Palazzo dei Conservatori is located in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, next to the Palazzo Senatorio and in front of the Palazzo Nuovo. The Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, together with the Tabularium, currently constitute the exhibition site of the Capitoline Museums, among the most representative and visited Roman museums.

The building known as Palazzo dei Conservatori, seat of an elected magistrature which had the task of administering the city, goes back to the middle of the 15th century. The building originally featured a portico on the ground floor and Guelf-cross windows on the first floor, in addition to a row of small windows on the mezzanine floor.

Michelangelo re-designed the facade, adding gigantic Corinthian pilaster strips on high pedestals, flanked by pillars in the portico on the ground floor. As in the case of Palazzo Senatorio, the building was crowned with a balustrade and statues.

The transformation of the building also affected its interior configuration, as a result of alterations to the windows on the first floor. The central one was eventually created by Giacomo della Porta and is much larger than the others, making an exception to Michelangelo’s plan.

Capitoline Museums
The Musei Capitolini date back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated to the people of Rome a group of bronze statues that until then had been kept at the Lateran. These statues constituted its original core collection. Various popes subsequently expanded the collection with works taken from excavations around Rome some were moved from the Vatican, some, such as the Albani collection, were bought specifically for the museum. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, Pope Benedict XIV created a picture gallery. A considerable quantity of archaeological material was also added at the end of the nineteenth century when Rome became the capital of Italy and new excavations were carried out whilst creating two completely new districts were created for the expanding city.

The Museums’ collections are displayed in the two of the three buildings that together enclose the Piazza del Campidoglio: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, the third being the Palazzo Senatorio. These two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel, which contains the Galleria Lapidaria and leads to the ancient Tabularium, whose monumental arches overlook the Forum.

The Palazzo Nuovo houses the collections of ancient sculpture made by the great noble families of the past. Their charming arrangement has remained substantially unchanged since the eighteenth century. They include the famous collections of busts of Roman philosophers and emperors, the statue of Capitoline Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, and the imposing statue of Marforio that dominates the courtyard.

The Conservators’ Apartment contains the original architectural nucleus of the building, decorated with splendid frescoes portraying the history of Rome. The ancient Capitoline bronzes on display here add to the noble atmosphere: the Capitoline She-wolf, Spinario and the Capitoline Brutus.

On the first floor of the palace, a huge glass room, recently built, contains the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which once stood in the Piazza del Campidoglio, and the imposing remains of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter. A section is also dedicated to the most ancient part of the Campidoglio’s history, from its first inhabitation until the construction of the sacred building, displaying the results of recent excavations. The halls that overlook the room contain works from the Horti of the Esquiline the hall which connects the room to the apartments of the Palazzo dei Conservatori contains the Castellani collection, testimony to nineteenth century collecting practices.

On the second floor, the Capitoline Picture Gallery contains many important works, arranged in chronological order from late mediaeval times to the eighteenth century. The collection includes paintings by Caravaggio (Good Luck and St. John the Baptist), a massive canvas by Guercino (Burial of Saint Petronilla) and numerous paintings by Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona.

The Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino holds the numismatic collection, known as the Medagliere Capitolino. On display are many rare coins, medals, gems and jewels, as well as an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions.


Watch the video: Roma Musei Capitolini p1 Palazzo dei Conservatori (May 2022).


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