We see only one-twentieth, and that is already insane. Here, at the Louvre, the story told in five hundred objects of one of the most fabulous collections ever to be assembled by a man.
Between 1830 and 1857, the marquis Campana (1808-1880) is conducting excavations throughout Italy and buys lustily vases, jewelry and marbles of the ancient, and even majolica, sculptures, paintings, medieval, Renaissance, or Seventeenth… He may: in Rome, he leads the the Mont-de-Piété, and it draws shamelessly in the fund. His ambition? Summarize the Italian soul of the Etruscans to the Counter-Reformation. Indeed, it is the time when the peninsula began to want to be as a nation.
The pot aux roses was discovered. The treasures are placed under receivership. Thanks to its support, Campana will avoid, however, the galleys. He will end his days in exile in Switzerland, alone and in a near-destitution.
In the immediate future, as the Church cannot bail out the ” Mont-de-Piété, and that the roman people is booming, she resolves to sell. The great powers of europe include the deal: for already dozens of years, no cultural good can come out of the papal States without authorisation.
England was the first to go to the market, but it has acted quite modestly. Tsar Alexander II is shown to be determined. He has racked up the most beautiful marble and antique vases. They have been a whole wing of the Museum of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. As for Napoleon III, it was decided late but did buy all the rest. The largest part of it. Nearly 10,000 pieces in total. Subsequently, they will be divided between the Louvre and the museums of the province. This is in spite of the protests of an Ingres or Delacroix, who have argued against this second dismemberment.
today the hall Napoleon evokes the great encyclopedia of Italy by the object that was the Campana collection. The route follows the classification by series typological evolutionary imagined by the marquis. There are no doubt a bit the atmosphere that should reign in the palaces of the romans. Every honest man had to visit them (it was possible on request). If the great statue of Jupiter and the vase of Cumae – “the king of vases” – have proven to be too heavy or too fragile to get out of the Hermitage, this institution lends a quarantine of other gems, including a beautiful bust of Antinous, or a lion’s head in bronze dating from the Fifth century bc J.-C., They are placed side by side with the masterpieces preserved in the national territory such as the sarcophagus of the spouses, the centerpiece of the etruscan art. In Rome, the Capitoline Museums are distinguished by sending a giant hand. This remnant of a bronze colossal of the emperor Constantine, has found a finger that had been amputated and that was in the collections of the Louvre.
Side tables, the parisian museum has hung her great Crucifix of Giotto, beside his pane of The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello and not far from his Adoration of the Magi of Signorelli. Around, we discovered the wood of the primitive italians, mainly from the Petit Palais in Avignon and a beautiful Virgin and Child of Botticelli.
“A dream of Italy. The collection of the marquis Campana”, Musée du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli (Ier), Napoleon hall. Tel.: 01 40 20 50 50. Everyday sf mar., from 9h to 18h, the sea. and fri. jq 21: 45. Until 18 feb. Catalogue: ed Liénart, 576 p., 49 €