The sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (1716-1799) was perhaps the most important restorer of antiquities in Rome in the period of the Grand Tour. A strict collaboration with the Musei Capitolini and Cardinal Alessandro Algardi. He also worked with Gavin Hamilton and Thomas Jenkins, the two most important dealers of antiquities. In 1755, his encounter and long friendship with Johann Joachim Winclelmann, the “father of art history” resulted in a new conception of the restoration of antiquities that focuses on the identification of the subject. In 1768 he accompanied Wincklemann to Germany. On the return journey as fate would have it the pair separated. Winckelmann died alone in Trieste.
In his will, Cavaceppi left his collection of terracotta maquettes and sculptural material to the Accademia di San Luca. Through a convoluted series of sales, the collection went first to Giovanni Torlonia and then to the tenor Evan Gorga who ceded it to the State in 1949.
The terracotta now in the national museum of Palazzo Venezia include some of the most famous antiquities of the Musei Capitolini, the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Cupid and Psyche, the Spinario and the Flora Capitolina. Other famous works include the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican and the Farnese Hercules, now in the Naples Archaeological Collection.
@ Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia