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|Subject: The Torlonia Collection at last to be publicy accessible Wed 16 Mar 2016, 14:27|| |
Some of you of a certain age may remember this. In the 1960s there was international outrage when the Torlonia family closed their museum beside the Tiber and the 650 viewable pieces of classic sculpture from their private collection - part of what is easily the greatest such single collection in the world - was ignominiously placed into sealed storage. Their museum, pictured below, became a block of fancy apartments.
What followed was a stand-off that has only just been resolved. The family, also rather ignominiously, at the time pleaded poverty (their Vatican-linked banking function is rather guaranteed to keep them not only fabulously wealthy but uninclined and in fact unrequired to reveal the true extent of that wealth to Italian authorities), claiming the poor wee clan needed the income from the apartments, but magnanimously offering the collection - which in full is over 2,000 pieces and possibly more than 3,000, even the family isn't sure - to the Italian state for a "fee". The government of the day declined to take them up on their offer that invited no refusal. In addition there was a long-standing feud in the background about just how the family had acquired its initial collection. The Giustiani family claimed original ownership, and that the Torlonias had rather shadily tricked them into ceding that role when it was averred that it had been used in collateral for a loan back in the early 1800s. Rather than entertain encouragement of an investigation into this claim the Torlonias simply claimed that all the original sculptures (about 300 or so) had been found in excavations on their own estates, a rather silly assertion when one looks at the pieces involved, and yet surprisingly still the "official" version today.
But now, for a "mere" 1.2 billion Euros paid to the family, these lovely pieces are soon to be viewable again, and the plan is that a selected bunch of them will go on an extended tour first: