The Looting of Artworks in the Wake of the Italian Wars (1494–1559): The Case of Rome and Its Collections

Francesco Guidi, Ph.D.

The project undertakes a comprehensive excavation of Roman archives and collections to tackle the acquisition, gifting, sale, display, and reuse of objects illicitly obtained during and after the Italian wars. It examines the impact of plunder on the history and configuration of Roman collections, considered in their layered role as both sources and recipients of looted objects.
This research sheds new light on well-known events like the 1527 Sack of Rome and the devolution of Ferrara in 1598, two major political shifts that triggered the movement of artworks both to and away from Rome. At the same time, the project looks beyond painting and sculpture galleries into material culture more broadly, considering militaria and ethnographic objects.

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