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  • Lori-Ann Touchette

“Casa delle Terrecotte”

These terracotta bas-reliefs come from the “Casa delle Terrecotte” (House of Terracotta), so named for the fictile decoration of the facade of the inner courtyard. Dated to the first half of the 16th century, the reliefs have been attributed to the noted sculptor, architect and and restorer Guglielmo della Porta, the owner of the house in 1551. Best known for his tomb of Pope Paul III in St Peter’s Basilica (revised by Bernini), his hand is visible in the high quality of the reliefs and the studies after the antique. Noteworthy is the freshness of the modeling and its expressive quality. an alternative attribution is to the sculptor Michele Marini da Fiesole who trained in with Andrea dal Verrocchio and working in this area of Rome between 1480 and 1500.

The terracotta reliefs are on display on the third floor of the 18th-century Palazzo Braschi, Museo di Roma, dedicated to modern Rome and its transformation of Rome from 1871 onwards. In this case, the house was demolished in the 1936 Fascist period works to widen via delle Botteghe Oscure. The area was the site of numerous lime kilns and it has been suggested that the black patina on some of the reliefs may reflect that local activity.

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