- 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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