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 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 ink drawings with 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 after compositions by Michelangelo, including several from the workshop of Antonio Salamanca. All works within the collection of prints and drawings can be viewed online on the Graphikportal of the Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte.

The database of the Photographic Collection also provides catalog entries and reproductions of the collection’s artworks (by using the search term "Hertziana Kunstbesitz").

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