Capitoline Museums - Musei Capitolini, Rome

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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS - I. Introduction.

    by breughel Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    If you have only time to visit one museum in Rome I advise you this one.
    You will not be waiting in a long line as with the museum of the Vatican and you will see very famous pieces of the Antique art. Moreover the site of the museum is one of most beautiful of Rome.
    In fact there are 3 museums on Piazza Campidoglio. They are called "Musei Capitolini" and belong to the city of Rome. The sole entry is on the right by the “Palazzo dei Consevatori”. Here on two floors and about thirty rooms is the main part of the collections. The most outstanding artefacts are statues of bronze or marble of the ancient Rome. Most known are “the She-wolf”, “the Spinario” and the equestrian statue of Marc-Aurelius.
    By an underground gallery the visitors reach, after a right turn, the arcades of the antique “Tabularium”, located under the "Palazzo dei Senatorio" and present town hall, from where one has imposing sights on the Foro Romano and the Palatine hill.
    By this same underground the visitors join, on the other side of the Piazza Campidoglio the “Palazzo Nuovo” which comprises a dozen rooms with statues of which most known are the “Faun” and “the dying Gaul”.
    The exit of the Capitoline Museums is by this palace.

    The collections of statues and archaeological artefacts of the “Musei Capitolini” were made up as from 1471 by the Popes and Roman important families like the Horti and the Castellani. The Pinacotheca, art gallery of the second floor was founded by Pope Benoit XIV in the 18th century. There is also a cabinet of currencies and medals.

    Nice cafeteria with terrace on the 2nd floor.

    Capitoline Museum - Entry. Capitoline Museum - Courtyard Capitoline Museum - Lupa/She-Wolf Capitoline Museum - Sarcophage Capitoline Museum - Caryatids.
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    About ANTIQUE STATUES in Roman museums.

    by breughel Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    If you like Greek-Roman sculptural art you will find in the Roman museums statues you will never forget because of their beauty!
    On the contrary of what many think they are not at the Vatican museum but at the Capitoline Museums that are in my opinion the best museum complex in Rome (I could not restrain from writing half a dozen tips to express my admiration for what is on display).

    Here at the CAPITOLINE museums you will find the bronze statue of the "Spinario" or "Boy removing thorn from foot". Certainly one of the most gracious statues of all times, it is probably an original Greek work of the 1st c. BC.
    Best known, of course, is the "Lupa Capitolina". This famous Etruscan bronze statue, the emblem of Roma goes back as far as the 6th c. BC. Among the marble statues I did admire is the very famous "Galata Morente". The statue is a copy of a bronze statue from the school of Pergamo (3-2nd c. BC) it is one of the most beautiful pieces of the antic art.

    Second is for me the less known MUSEO ROMANO at PALAZZO MASSIMO (located between piazza della Repubblica and Termini bus terminal).
    Here a few lines of one of my tips about this collection:
    "There are in this museum two large bronze statues, among the most beautiful of the antiquity.
    The "Pugilatore" resting pugilist or "boxer" is the ancient, most extraordinary, most attractive statue I saw these ten last years.
    I turned and turned around the resting boxer who expresses in such realistic way the tiredness and the suffering of the fight. The wounds of his face are distinctively shown on the bronze. I noted that the protection of hands and forearms by leather gloves made of straps binding the four fingers and leaving the thumb free. They are of a clearer colour because they had been rubbed in the past by people who considered this statue as a good-luck charm "portafortuna".
    Some steps further stands another remarkable bronze statue “the Hellenistic Prince". This is maybe king Attalus II of Pergamon or could also be a Roman wishing to be presented as a Greek prince….

    Don’t leave Rome without having seen these statues.

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    Etruscan or medieval Lupa?

    by breughel Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    In a former tip about the bronze statues of this museum I wrote: The Roman she-wolf "Lupa Capitolina" is dated from the 6th century BC but the twins Romulus and Remus were added during the Renaissance.

    In 2008 a study of Carbon 14 dating of the dirt and clay pieces from the statue indicated that the statue was cast in the 8th century A.D and might therefore be a copy of an Etruscan bronze!
    This study has itself been criticized by both experts in Etruscan and Roman history but also by experts from the carbon-14 dating. It is a delicate method as pollution risks distorting the dating.
    Since it's likely that the statue has been manhandled over the years, carbon dating tests could have no relevance regarding the time when it was created, explained archaeologist Nicoletta Pagliardi.
    The age of the Lupa Capitolina statue is therefore still under discussion.

    There is another question about the famous Lupa.
    Any good tourist has learned that the foundation of Rome goes back to Romulus and Remus -precisely in 753 BC (!!!) according to Marcus Varron called "the most learned of the Romans" - and that they were children of the princess Rhea Sylvia and the god Mars himself. The princess Rhea was the daughter of the king Numitor of Alba.
    Just like Moses the two babies were put in a basket and entrusted to the floods to escape death and were rescued by a she-wolf, the famous Lupa which became the symbol of Rome.
    But in Latin the word Lupa has two significances: she-wolf and prostitute! In French the word "lupanar" derived from the latin "lupa" means brothel.

    Now who saved our two cherubim's, a she-wolf or a prostitute?

    Lupa Capitolina
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    Roman Treasure

    by goodfish Updated Jan 20, 2015

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    This museum started with collection of bronzes given by Pope Sixtus IV way back in 1471. Housed in two palazzos on either side of Piazza del Campidoglio - on top of Capitoline Hill - and connected by an underground gallery, Capitoline Museum focuses on pieces that have originated from or have special significance to Rome. Palazzo Nuovo is almost exclusively for sculpture and where you'll find likenesses of emperors, philosophers, mythological figures and important citizens. A friend of mine calls it "That place with all the heads." Palazzo dei Conservatori is much larger and has a wider range of works - paintings, tapestries, frescos - as well as sculpture.

    It has a very good website that highlights the most important works. The museum is closed on Mondays: check the site for current hours and entry fees. Advance tickets are possible but probably not necessary.

    Do note that backpacks and large handbags are not allowed in the museum but may be checked for free.

    http://en.museicapitolini.org

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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    If you have only enough time to visit one museum in Rome I advise you the Capitoline Museum on the Campidoglio.
    You will not be waiting in a long line as with the museum of the Vatican and you will see very famous pieces of the Antique art. Moreover the site of the museum is one of most beautiful of Rome.
    In fact there are 3 museums on Piazza Campidoglio. They are called "Musei Capitolini" and belong to the city of Rome. The sole entry is on the right by the “Palazzo dei Consevatori”. Here on two floors and about thirty rooms is the main part of the collections. The most outstanding artefacts are statues of bronze or marble of the ancient Rome. Most known are “La Lupa - the She-wolf”, “the Spinario” and the equestrian statue of Marc-Aurelius.
    By an underground gallery the visitors reach, after a right turn, the arcades of the antique “Tabularium”, located under the "Palazzo dei Senatorio" and present town hall, from where one has imposing sights on the Foro Romano and the Palatine hill.
    By this same underground the visitors join, on the other side of the Piazza Campidoglio the “Palazzo Nuovo” which comprises a dozen rooms with statues of which most known are the “Fauna” and “the dying Gaul”.
    The exit of the Capitoline Museums is by this palace.

    The collections of statues and archaeological artefacts of the “Musei Capitolini” were made up as from 1471 by the Popes and Roman important families like the Horti and the Castellani. The Pinacotheca, art gallery of the second floor was founded by Pope Benoit XIV in the 18th century. There is also a cabinet of currencies and medals.

    For more detailed reviews see my tips under "Musei Capitolini Museums":
    Marcus Aurelius statue,
    Best Bronze statues,
    Best Marble statues,
    Conservators appartments,
    Surprising statues.

    Nice cafeteria with terrace on the 2nd floor.

    Musei Capitolini - entrance. Equestrian statue of Marc-Aurelius. Emperor Constantin I. Herm of a Caryarid.
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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS-II. Marcus Aurelius statue.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    Since 2005 a new large glass hall built, inside the garden of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, contains the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (the one on the Piazza is a copy).
    It is likely that this bronze statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180 AD) was erected a few years before is death. Where is not sure but probably in the Roman Forum although medieval sources mentioned its presence on the Lateran.
    These equestrian statues called "equi magni", larger than life-size, were much diffused in the imperial Rome but from the twenty mentioned in documents this is the only one which reached us through the centuries.

    The statue was placed on the Capitol's Hill in 1538. Corrosion and fissures in the legs made a removal of the statue in 1981 for long restoration works necessary. In 1990 Marcus Aurelius became again visible in the courtyard of the Capitoline Museum sheltered by a large window. In the present prestigious hall Marcus Aurelius has got for company some of the major Capitoline bronzes, the Hercules in gilded bronze from the Foro Boario and the remains of the bronze colossus of Constantine.

    Capitoline Museum - Marcus Aurelius Capitoline Museum - Hercules statue. Capitoline Museum - Head of Constantine.
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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS-III. Best Bronze Statues.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    Best known, of course, is the Lupa Capitolina or She-wolf (Why is there no specific English word for a female wolf like in other languages!?). This famous Etruscan bronze statue (room VII Palazzo dei Conservatori) of the emblem of Roma goes back as far as the 6th c. BC. The twin brothers Romulus and Remus were added during the Renaissance period. There is a lot of controversy about the age of the "Lupa Capitolina". Carbon-14 dating would indicate that the statue is from the 7th - 8th century AD.

    A most beautiful statue is that of the Spinario: "Boy removing thorn from foot". Certainly one of the most gracious statues of all times, it is probably an original Greek work of the 1st c. BC. (room VI). In the same room, I very much liked the bust of consul Junius Brutus dating from the 3rd c. BC. (nothing to do with the Brutus who killed J. Caesar). Have you seen the expression of the eyes!
    I also admired a bronze statue of a horse of the 5th c. BC which is being restored. What a perfection!

    Capitoline Museum - Spinario. Capitoline Museum - Bust of J. Brutus. Capitoline Museum - Capitoline Museum - Bronze Horse 5th c. BC.
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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS-IV. Best Marble Statues.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    If you are an amateur of ancient sculptures you will find here very fine pieces coming mainly from private collections belonging to high-ranking churchmen and noble Roman families.
    Among the marble statues I did admire is the very famous "Galata Morente" (Room VIII, Palazzo Nuovo). The English translation of "dying Gaul" is confusing because the Galates were Celtics living in Asia Minor (far away from the "Galli" Gaul's of the present France). The statue is a copy of a bronze statue from the school of Pergamo (3-2nd c. BC) it is one of the most beautiful pieces of the antic art.

    In the large room VI of the same Palazzo Nuovo are five masterpieces of black marble among which the "Old Centaur" and the "Young Centaur" of an extraordinary technique are my preferred. They were found at the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli as well as another highlight of the museum, the red marble statue of a "Faun".
    But these are just a few among many good statues. I also liked that elegant statue of Hygeia and the portrait in marble of a lady with an imposing wave hairdressing which was typical for the family of the Severi Emperors.

    Capitoline museums - Capitoline museums- Centaur. Capitoline museums - Faun. Capitoline museums - Hygeia. Capitoline museums - Lady with wave hairdressing.
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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS-V. Conservator's Apartment.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    The museum is much more than a display of antique statues. On the first floor are richly decorated rooms used for the meetings of the Conservators (magistrates). The decoration of these apartments consist of frescoes, carved ceilings, stuccoes, tapestries and has for main theme the history of Ancient Rome, from its foundation to the Republican Age. The earliest frescoes go back to the 16th century.

    The most imposing room is that of the Horace's and Curiaces so called because its walls are decorated of a series of historical frescos due to Cavalier of Arpino.
    The first, on the left of the entry, is that of the combat of the Horace's and Curiaces.
    I recognize that according to my Latin readings of Tite-Live and his “De Viris Illustribus” I saw that fight of the sole Horace, left unscathed after the first combat, against the three Curiaces brothers wounded to various degrees, in a different way. In my imagination there was much more space than what the painter represented on the wall.
    This room comprises also two monumental statues, that of the Pope Urbain VIII out of marble by Bernin and that in bronze of Pope Innocent X by Algarde. This is a masterly work.

    Capitoline Museum - Orazi and Curiazi fresco. Capitoline Museum - Innocent X bronze statue.
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    CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS-VI. Surprising Statues.

    by breughel Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    There are two antic statues at this museum which are surprising.

    One is the "Baby Hercules" in black marble of room VI at the Palazzo Nuovo.
    This colossal statue about 2 m high of Hercules represented as a somewhat chubby kid is funny with his pelt of a lion in hands. Don't laugh too much, he developed in a strong feared man as you can see from the gilded adult statue in the Marcus Aurelius exedra.

    The other surprising statue is the Diana of Ephesus, a white marble statue with extremities in bronze showing flowers, bees and other symbols of fertility.
    Quite relax is the colossal statue of the Marforio above the fountain in the courtyard of the Palazzo Nuovo. He was one of the "speaking statues" of Rome in the Middle Ages, nowadays Marforio remains silent but it seemed to me that he had a mocking expression each time tourists had themselves photographed by his fountain.

    Capitoline Museums - Baby Hercules. Capitoline Museums - Adult Hercules. Capitoline Museums - Diana Ephesiana. Capitoline Museums - Marforio.
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    Capitoline Hill: Piazza del Campidoglio

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    The piazza at the top of the steps and in front of the Capitoline Museum was designed by the famous master sculptor, Michelangelo, who was also a famous painter and architect. Commissioned by Pope Paul III with the thought to give this part of Rome more importance, he called on Michelangelo for the design. Michelangelo was in his later years – long after he had painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Florentine was now a citizen of Rome and was currently at work on another part of the Sistine Chapel – the painting of the Last Judgement on the wall behind the altar.

    The piazza design is likened to a small town with three buildings and a large staircase surrounding the equestrian statue in the center. The statue, a replica of the original one which Pope Paul III had moved to the space, depicts Marcus Aurelius on his horse. The original famous bronze (gilded) statue can be found in the nearby Capitoline Museum in the hall named after the statue.

    We arrived at the piazza by climbing the tall steps (not to be confused with the larger, taller steps to the nearby church) which are flanked by two statues of Casator and Pollux with their horses. These statues were found in the 16th century in the nearby Ghetto area where there used to be a temple dedicated to the two men. On either side of the steps is the balustrade that was designed by Michelangelo. Near the balustrade are additional sculptures of enemy arms and amour captured by Roman generals.

    The star design of the piazza was not designed by Michelangelo, who designed an oval with a herringbone pattern. The current redesign dates back to only 1940.

    After enjoying the piazza, be sure to walk around the central building behind the equestrian statue. A walk to the right will bring you to a spectacular view of the Roman Forum and a walk to the left will give you a similar view but with a close up of the arch of Septimius Severus. Each of these views is free and makes a great photo opportunity. I found the afternoon lighting to be perfect for photos when we were there.

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    Capitoline Hill

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    The Capitoline Hill is the civic center of ancient Rome and is still the official seat of the mayor. It stands above the Roman Forum, providing an awesome view of the ancient site. It houses the Capitoline Museum, which is full of ancient sculpture and art, as well as the Temple of Jupiter, the Tarpeian Rock (where traitors were thrown to their death), the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and flanked by the massive Victor Emmanuel Monument.

    My interest in the Capitoline was to see Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio, the central courtyard in front of the Palazzo Senatorio, and the facades he designed for the buildings. And to get photos of the Roman Forum from this area.

    We climbed up the Cordonata, the long steps to the piazza (not to be confused with the larger Aracoeli steps leading to the church, which were completed in the 1300s as a remembrance of the plague). At the top of the Cordonata were two statues, one of Castor and one of Pollux. But in the center of the piazza was the magnificent equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (although this statue is a replica of the real one found in the Capitoline Museums).

    After having our fill of the piazza, we headed to the right of the Palazzo Senatorio (the building directly behind the equestrian statue) to the overlook of the Roman Forum. It is from that vantage point that I was able to capture some really good photos of the forum, having timed our visit so that the sun would be cooperating with my camera. After taking a good number of photos, we headed back around to the front of the Palazzo Senatorio and to the other side of the building. I was hoping to get to see the Mamertine Prison, but it was not open at the time. However, from this spot, I was able to get a really good view of the Arch of Sevurus, which was blocked from the Forum end due to excavations. But from here, I was higher up and could easily see the reliefs carved into the stone.

    We did not visit the Capitoline Museums; that we will save for another visit to Roma.

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    Best museums of antiques.

    by breughel Updated Feb 15, 2014

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    I presume that you are not travelling to Rome to visit a museum of contemporary art but that you are interested in antiques.

    So here is my short list of the best Museums of Antiques in Rome:

    Capitoline Museums on the Piazza del Campidoglio (an absolute must see),

    Museo Nazionale Romano Palazzo Massimo & Museo Nazionale Romano Palazzo Altemps,

    Vatican museum (if you are prepared to spend time on queuing or bought your ticket online).

    For details on what to see in these museums please look at my detailed reviews in the appropriate "things to do" groups.

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    Capitoline Hill

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 23, 2013

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    This beautiful hill is situated behind the monument to King Victor Emmanuel II. The square and buildings on the hill were designed by Michelangelo. The famous Capitoline Museum is located here. There are several statues here such as a replica of Romulus and Remus being fed by a she wolf, the statue of Marcus Aurelius (the originals of these are in the museum). There are also statues of Castor and Pollux and some Egyptian lions. At the back of the hill there are great views over the forum. To the left of the hill up a separates staircase is the beautiful Church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli with its lavish golden ceiling. A choir was singing inside when I visited. Exit the church and go right and you are on the free viewing platform of the Victor Emmanuel Monument.

    Capitoline Hill is the smallest of Rome's seven hills but has always been very important. Several temples were located here.

    Capitoline Hill. The Church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. Romulus and Remus with the she wolf. Statue on Capitoline Hill. Statue on Capitoline Hil
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    Palazzo Nuovo, Some of Its Art

    by von.otter Updated Sep 18, 2012

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    Palazzo Nuovo, meaning “new palace,” is the smaller of the two museums on the Capitoline Hill. It is a spectacular museum, including many objects from antiquity. One of the most stunning antiques is the large lounging sculpture of a water god, called Marforio by the Romans, found just inside the main entry way. Being a water god, it is appropriate the Marforio is the centerpiece of a fountain (see photo #1).

    Palazzo Nuovo was built in the 17th century under the direction of Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo. From the outside, Palazzo Nuovo is identical to Palazzo dei Conservatori, across Piazza dei Campidoglio. Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori comprise the Musei Capitolini Museums, which were established in 1471 by Pope Sixtus I. The Holy Father donated a series of bronze statues to the city of Rome.

    On exhibit here are mostly sculptures from Ancient Greece and Rome. A satyr (see photo #2); a lion and Minerva, goddess of Wisdom (see photo #3); as well as numerous plaques with Roman text (see photo #4) are examples of what you will see.

    The one of the most well-known works from Antiquity is the Capitoline Venus (see photo #5). She is Venus Pudica, a modest Venus. Posed with her right hand moving to cover her breasts and her left placed over her groin, she emerges from her bath. This is an original, dating from the second or third centuries BC; many copies followed.

    Venus was found on the Viminal Hill in the Stazi family gardens; Clement X (born 1590, pope from 1670 to 1676) was pope. Bought by Pope Benedict XIV from the Stazi in 1752, the Holy Father gave it to the Capitoline Museums. Venus is displayed in her own Classically-designed niche — called the Cabinet of Venus — on the ground floor.

    Venus was loaned to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from June 8 to September 18, 2011, being shown in the rotunda of the West Building.

    Entry into the museum was once directly from Piazza dei Campidoglio but no longer. Tickets must be bought at the Palazzo dei Conservatori; and an underground passage leads to Palazzo Nuovo. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 09:00 to 20:00.

    Palazzo Nuovo, Marforio, Rome, May 2007 Palazzo Nuovo, a Satyr, Rome, May 2007 Palazzo Nuovo, Rome, May 2007 Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Venus, Rome, May 2007
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