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Acquisition of part of the Giustiniani Collection

The genesis of the prestigious Giustiniani collection of antiquities is linked to the illustrious figure of Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani (1564–1637). A powerful banker, his major collecting activity and his vocation for patronage made him a figure of reference for the greatest intellectuals and artists of the time, many of whom, like Gian Lorenzo Bernini, worked for him as restorers. A multifaceted personality, thanks to his profound culture he contributed to the theory on the figurative arts through the drafting of three texts, his Discorso sopra la pittura (‘Discourse on Painting’), Discorso sopra la scultura (‘Discourse on Sculpture’) and Discorso sopra l'architettura (‘Discourse on Architecture’), which testify to the aesthetic principles and taste that guided the formation of his impressive collection, from which a clear preference for ancient statuary emerges. The imposing collection, whose most famous pieces are admirably reproduced in the printed work Galleria Giustiniana, was destined to adorn the family residences: Palazzo Giustiniani, two Roman villas and the Palazzo of Bassano Romano. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, forced by pressing economic difficulties, the Giustiniani Family started the sale of its prestigious artistic heritage; in 1825 the Torlonia Family acquired the most important nucleus of about 270 sculptures from Palazzo Giustiniani (ultimately made available in 1856), including a famous series of imperial portraits and busts, the Hestia Giustiniani and the so-called Euthydemus of Bactria.