- The urge to exhibit: the Egyptian and Etruscan Museums in the Vatican at the dawn of a nationalist era in Europe (1815-1840)
- Fragmenta. Journal of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
The Musei Gregoriano Etrusco and Egizio in the Vatican were opened in the 1830s. The auctor intellectualis of these museums was Pius VII and the conceptualisation can be attributed to Antonio Canova who foresaw the Vatican collections as a future ‘Museum of the World’. The author compares these and the museums of Gregory XVI to the Egyptian and Etrurian collections in the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, and the Cabinet of Antiquities in Leiden. The underlying motives of the founding of these different collections can be explained in terms of these countries’ need for restoration and nationalism. Not surprisingly, the Etruscan finds from the Vatican were believed to form a introduction to the later Greek civilization that showed superiority over that same Greek civilization. Unexpectedly, the Egyptian collections, connected as they were with Roman history, precluded all attempts of appropriation of this culture elsewhere in Europe, most notably in France.
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