Art Collection

The Bibliotheca Hertziana has a collection of artworks and historic furnishings, most of which were already part of Palazzo Zuccari when it became the property of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (now the Max-Planck-Society) after the death of Institute founder Henriette Hertz in 1913. She had purchased most of the pieces from antiquarian dealers during the late 19th century with the support of her agents, who included Jean-Paul Richter. Along with furniture, the collection contains a number of paintings, sculptures and antiques, but also porcelain, silverware, ceramic objects, and wall hangings.

Of particular interest are the ceiling paintings of scenes from Ancient Roman history, attributed to Polidoro da Caravaggio and originally created for Villa Lante on the Gianicolo. The art collection also features a self-portrait by Federico Zuccari, which shows the painter in conversation with Benedetto Busini in front of a model of the cathedral dome in Florence.

The furnishings that passed into the possession of the Max-Planck-Society when Palazzo Stroganoff was purchased include various paintings and a full set of hand-painted, gold-embossed leather wall coverings that were made in the Flemish region around 1725.

The Bibliotheca Hertziana also holds a collection of around 2,000 prints and nearly 300 drawings, many of which were acquired by the Institute’s first director, Ernst Steinmann. Particularly interesting is a series of nearly 100 hand-painted vedute of Rome and the Roman campagna dating from the 1780s attributed to Felice Giani and based on drawings by Franz Caucig. Also worth mentioning is a series of rare 16th century engravings following compositions by Michelangelo, several of which come from the workshop of Antonio Salamanca.

Catalog entries and illustrations of most of the artworks in the collection can be viewed in the database of the Photographic Collection (by using the search term "Bibliotheca Hertziana Kunstbesitz").

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