Villa Hadriana as a Microcosm. A Space of Artistic Interaction in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe

The research project addresses the multi-faceted reception of the Villa Hadriana near Tivoli in its significance as a "dynamic contact zone" or "space of artistic interaction" in (early) modern Europe. The architectural finds, the building surveys, as well as the varied representations of the grounds and the objects uncovered over the course of centuries illuminate the evolution of archaeology, from the beginnings of the excavation campaigns as mere unearthing and recovery of artifacts up through the modern discipline with its scientific documentation.

The complex realized by Emperor Hadrian between 117 and 138 C.E. was "rediscovered" in the Renaissance and since then could be considered a surface for projecting an idealized ancient culture. It functioned on the one hand by creating a common experiential space as a basis for European understanding, but served on the other hand – beyond broadening the respective horizons – to develop individual and national concepts. The reception, presentation, and transformation of meaning of the portable decorative elements from the villa complex will be examined on selected examples for their "recontextualization" in private collections and museums. The various areas of inquiry primarily focus on the receiver groups of artists, architects, and draughtsmen, but also the excavators, restorers, and art dealers. With their (literary and visual) records, the representations and concepts, finds and impressions, aspects and notions of the Villa Hadriana were transmitted, which raises numerous questions.


Phoenix aus der Asche. Bildwerdung der Antike - Druckgrafiken bis 1869, curated by Cristina Ruggero und Ulrich Pfisterer, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, 27.06.–22.09.2019. FilmSüddeutsche Zeitung; Münchner Merkur

Lectures (Selection)

Lecture Series IV: Villa Hadriana: die kaiserliche Residenz und ihre Rezeption

Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München

  • Cristina Ruggero: Angebot und Nachfrage: Die aegyptiaca aus der Hadriansvilla in Rom, Paris, München
  • Mariette de Vos Raaijmakers (Università degli Studi di Trento): Hadrian und der Nil – Die Palestra in der Villa Hadriana und ihr Dekorationsprogramm
  • Redha Attoui (Université Badj Mokhtar Annaba, Algeria): Schematic reconstruction of the construction process used in a part of the Palestra, Villa Adriana

The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America / Columbia University, NYC, Spring 2020

Weinberg Fellow in Architectural History and Preservation: Majestic shadow of the past: documentation and narrative photography of Hadrian’s Villa and Tivoli (1850–1930)

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