The monumental consular sarcophagus of Via Ardeatina, along with a group of toga-wearing Romans, welcome visitors to the Gallerie d’Italia of Piazza Scala. Nearby, there’s the colossal Dace Prisoner, as well as Portraits of Domitian and Antinous, recently restored. Hercules, composed of 112 pieces, already displayed in Rome, dialogues with the sculpture of Leda with Swan, revealing the various phases of its cleaning, explaining, in-depth, the challenges facing contemporary restoration in general. The highly-awaited appointment with the most important private gathering of classical statues, ready to reveal itself to visitors, with five newly-restored works, is at the Gallerie d’Italia, where 96 marble works from the Torlonia Collection meet the public with the gazes and breaths of marble depictions of satyrs, elderly, youths and followers of Bacchus. Through this scientific project, curators Salvatore Settis and Carlo Gasparri, while following a reverse-chronological through-line of the history of collecting, make visitors part of the exceptional history of the Museo Torlonia alla Lungara in Rome. The genesis of the Collection finds its roots in the passion for collecting of the Torlonia family which finds its fulfilment in the foundation of the same name, created to protect and promote “the cultural legacy of the family for humanity” for future generations. Thanks to an agreement with the Foundation and in virtue of the well-founded roots of the brand, Bulgari contributed, as the main sponsor, to the restoration of the works, bringing these masterpieces back to their original splendour after a scrupulous restoration study of the works at the Laboratori Torlonia. The work helped in discovering interesting facets, such as the extraordinary traces of colour present in the bas Relief of Porto from the III Century AD. This journey divided into five sections, plus an epilogue in the last hall, entirely dedicated to the restorations, offer a spectacular evocation of the Museo Torlonia - inaugurated by Prince Alexander in 1875 on Via della Lungara, where the 620 sculptures were spread out through 77 halls - to conduct visitors among the archeological sites of Torlonia, to the presence of the colossal Dace and the imposing Hestia Giustiniani, face to face with the grace of a Crouching Aphrodite or the extraordinary expressiveness of the Wedded Couple. In this triumph of muscles and embraces, sure to remain imprinted in the minds of visitors, there are works such as the Young Girl by Vulci, with her expression of fresh youth, the Old Man by Otricoli, with his sharp and austere traits, or the Caprone Giustiniani, with its soft locks, the result of a masterful restoration done in the 1600s.
From the Black Magi to the former slave with Garibaldi, Africans are present in Italian art and society since the Renaissance. Today, they look out from framed works, speaking to us of forgotten events.