Enfilade

New Book | Rediscovering a Baroque Villa in Rome

Posted in books by Editor on February 14, 2016

From L’ Erma di Bretschneider:

David R. Marshall, Rediscovering a Baroque Villa in Rome: Cardinal Patrizi and the Villa Patrizi, 1715–1909 (Rome: L’ Erma di Bretschneider, 2015), 508 pages, ISBN: 978-8891309310, €290.

00013000Rediscovering a Baroque Villa in Rome: Cardinal Patrizi and the Villa Patrizi, 1715–1909 draws on a large body of archival material to reconstruct in detail the creation of the Villa Patrizi outside Porta Pia from 1715 to 1727 and its afterlife. This material includes building documentation, inventories, and above all the letters written by Cardinal Giovanni Batista Patrizi, papal legate in Ferrara, to his brothers in Rome, both dilettante artist-architects. These letters provide a unique insight into the decision-making processes involved in such a large-scale enterprise, in particular the hiring of artists and the decoration of individual rooms. These rooms included a Gallery inspired by the Galleria Colonna, a romitorio, or fictive hermitage, a Mirror Room anticipating those created later in the century, and one of the first Chinoiserie interiors in Rome.

The Villa Patrizi emerges as perhaps the most important secular project in the barocchetto manner, a distinct design sensibility prevalent in the early decades of the eighteenth century that was oriented towards modern taste (to be found in Northern Italy and France), as opposed to the antiquarianism of Cardinal Albani, whose Villa Albani it faced across the valley. The book demonstrates the crucial role played by Giovanni Paolo Panini, later famous as a painter of capricci and Roman views, not only as a painter of the frescoes that decorated many of the rooms, but also as co-ordinator of the design of the more adventurous interiors, and his progress from employee to friend and collaborator of the family. We follow the fluctuating fortunes of the main building (the Casino) and its surroundings: from the terraces, gardens, and vigna of the original villa, through the acquisition of the Villa Bolognetti next door and the creation of one of the finest English-style gardens of nineteenth-century Rome, the almost complete destruction of the villa and grounds in 1849, its subsequent rebuilding to the same design, the subdivision of the garden in the building frenzy following unification in 1870, through to the demolition of the Casino in 1909 and the levelling of the site.

Embedded in the dominant narrative of the construction and destruction of the villa are the lives of the individual members of the Patrizi family (including the women): their marriages, alliances, and their preoccupation with succession and inheritance. We learn how a Roman family organised itself between its principal residences: the Villa Patrizi outside Porta Pia, the Palazzo Patrizi palace opposite the church of S. Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, and the palace at Castel Giuliano. The wealth of evidence that is drawn upon provides a unique insight into the motivations of Cardinal Patrizi and his brothers, who was preoccupied with the signs of status appropriate to a cardinal, the constraints of etiquette, and above all his desire to leave a building that would enhance the status of his family, and would be a blessing and not a burden on “those who come after me.”

David R. Marshall is Principal Fellow, Art History, School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne, and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is a specialist in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century landscape and view painting, particularly the work of Giovanni Paolo Panini, Piranesi, and Filippo Juvarra. His interest in architectural view painting was initiated by his research into the seventeenth-century architectural painters, Viviano and Niccolò Codazzi, resulting in his publication Viviano and Niccolò Codazzi and the Baroque Architectural Fantasy (Rome: Jan di Sapi Editori, 1993). He has published widely since on architectural view painting and landscape painting in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Rome in such journals as The Art Bulletin, The Burlington Magazine, Journal of the History of Collections, Artibus et Historiae, Storia dell’ Arte, and Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. He was the founder and editor of Melbourne Art Journal from 1997 to 2015, and in this role he edited (and contributed chapters to) monographs that include The Italians in Australia: Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art (Florence: Centro Di, 2004); Art, Site and Spectacle: Studies in Early Modern Visual Culture (Melbourne, 2007); and most recently, The Site of Rome: Studies in the Art and Topography of Rome 1400–1750 (Rome: L’ Erma di Bretschneider, 2014). With Susan Russell and Karin Wolfe he was the editor of Roma Britannica: Art Patronage and Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Rome (British School at Rome, London, 2010). Complementary to this monograph on the Villa Patrizi is his edition of the letters of Cardinal Patrizi, published in Collectanea Archivi Vaticani / Dall’Archivio Segreto Vaticano. Miscellanea di Testi, Saggi e Inventari 8 (2015), pp. 143–520 [information for ordering a copy is provided below].

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C O N T E N T S

Introduction: Roman Villas and the Villa Patrizi

Part 1 | The Cardinal and His Family
1.1  Patrizio Patrizi the Elder (1629–1689)
1.2  Architect and Patrons
1.3  The Cardinal in Ferrara, 1718–1727
1.4.  Ottavia Sacchetti and Patrizio Patrizi the Younger, 1722–1739
1.5  Maria Virginia and Giovanni, Porzia and Francesco

Part 2 | Vigna and Villa
2.1  Vigna Patrizi, 1650–1715
2.2  Constructing the Casino

Part 3 | Decoration and Function
3.1  Organisation of the Piano Nobile
3.2  Anterooms

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From the Archivo Segreto Vaticano:

David R. Marshall, ed., The Letters of Cardinal Patrizi to His Brothers Mariano and Francesco Concerning The Villa Patrizi (1718–1727), Collectanea Archivi Vaticani (Dall’Archivio Segreto Vaticano. Miscellanea di Testi, Saggi e Inventari VIII 2015), ISBN 978-8898638000, €40.

Orders for publications of the editorial series published by the Archivio Segreto Vaticano should be sent by fax or e-mail to:
Archivio Segreto Vaticano
Economato
Cortile del Belvedere
00120 Città del Vaticano
fax +39 06 69883150
economato@asv.va

 

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