Exploring the National Roman Museum: A Three Part Course with Livia Galante
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A video recording will be sent to all participants after each event.
The National Roman Museum, in Italian Museo Nazionale Romano, is one of the world’s greatest museums of ancient Greco-Roman art. It was founded on March 7th, 1889. The necessity to create a ‘Museum of Antiquities in the Capital of the Kingdom’ was stated as soon as Rome became the capital of Italy in 1871.
The great efforts carried out to adapt the city to its new role as capital city resulted in the discovery of numerous works, often of exceptional artistic value. This confirmed the need for the establishment of a museum where the grandeur of the past could be displayed and explored, to celebrate the ambition of a nation that had finally been unified. The impressive number of artworks were originally housed in a former monastery on the site of the Baths of Diocletian. A big change happened in the 1980s, when the museum acquired several additional spaces and reorganized itself into four locations: the original site (sometimes called the Terme Museum [terme being Italian for “thermal baths”]), the Palazzo Altemps, the Palazzo Massimo, and the Crypta Balbi.
Led by an expert on Archaeology and Ancient Roman Topography, this interactive course will focus on Ancient Roman arts and crafts. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with increased comprehension of Roman sculpture, paintings, coins, and inscriptions.
Lecture One – Palazzo Massimo The first seminar will focus on Palazzo Massimo, the most complete of all the seats of the National Roman Museum. We will focus on some of the most iconic statues of the collection such as the Boxer, the statue of Augustus as Pontifex Maximus, Lancellotti’s Disc Thrower, the Maiden of Anzio, the Sleeping Hermaphrodite, and some magnificent sarcophagi, like that of Portonaccio, with a battle scene carved in high relief. Special attention will be paid to detached mosaic floors and frescoes. We’ll discuss how these frescoes and mosaics document the home decoration of prestigious Roman residences, such as the extraordinary Painted Garden from the summer dining room of the suburban Villa of Livia. A chapter will be dedicated to coins, jewels, and the mummy of a little girl buried together with her favorite doll.
Lecture Two – Palazzo Altemps Palazzo Altemps is a 16th-century mansion that underwent an extensive restoration and opened to the public in 1997. This seat allows us to better comprehend the collections and the collecting mania in the 1500 and 1600. The museum houses the collections of Marco Sittico Cardinal Altemps, the Mattei, but, especially, the impressive one of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi. We will ideally walk through the beautifully frescoed rooms of the Renaissance palazzo, focusing on the most important decorations and examining the most notable objects of the collection the statue of Ares, the Dying Gaul, the sarcophagus Ludovisi and the mysterious Ludovisi Throne, recovered in 1887 during the urban development works undertaken in the area surrounding the villa.
Lecture Three – The Baths of Diocletian Once the largest ancient thermal complex in the world, the Baths of Diocletian were built between 298AD and 306AD. In 1500 the structure was partly transformed into a beautiful church based on a project by Michelangelo who also designed a convent for the Carthusians and a huge cloister, one of the largest in Italy. Today, the complex is the repository of the Museum of Written Communication in the Roman World. A section is dedicated to Religions in Rome with interesting findings from mithraea and the ancient cult of Anna Perenna with witchcraft curses found in the year 2000 near a sacred source
Livia obtained a degree in Archaeology at the Sapienza University of Rome and has a Master's degree in the History and Conservation of Cultural Heritage from the University of Roma Tre. Her main field of interest is ancient Roman topography and early Christian architecture; however, she is an accomplished scholar whose teaching ability extends to the Renaissance and Baroque Rome. As a native Roman, Livia is very enthusiastic about sharing the deep love and knowledge she has for her hometown with clients.
How does it work? This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.
Is there a reading list provided in advance? Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, we will provide a reading list for further investigation at the course's conclusion.
How long are the lectures? Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.
How much is the course? The course is $105 USD for three lectures. Is a recording available if I am unable to attend the live discussion each week? Yes. A link to view the Zoom room recording will be emailed to you within 24 hours of each session's conclusion. Recordings will be available to re-watch at leisure up until 2 weeks after the course's conclusion.