La cultura museale agli albori. Nuovi disegni sull'allestimento del Palazzo Apostolico al tempo di Clemente XI Albani: l'Appartamento dei Principi Nipoti
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 70, 2019
The apartment of the grandchildren princes on the third noble level of Palazzo Nuovo in the Vatican was embellished at the beginning of the eighteenth century with twenty-five preparatory sketches (cartoni), most of them executed by Pietro da Cortona for the mosaic decoration of the minor domes of St. Peter. The decoration was part of a larger and progressive project for a museum display in the Apostolic Palace, conceived by Clement XI Albani at the beginning of his pontificate to promote the enhancement and conservation of the Papal Collections, although exclusively reserved to the limited circle of ecclesiastics, diplomats and intellectuals with access to the Papal Apartments. A group of five drawings at the Royal Collection of Windsor Castle, attributable to the workshop of Carlo Fontana, architect of the ‘fabrica’ of St. Peter and superintendent of the Apostolic Palaces, can be connected to this display. The Vatican experiment, as a whole, is to be considered a first important cultural and methodological precedent of the more ambitious project undertaken by Clement XII Corsini which would lead to the opening of the first public museum inaugurated at Palazzo Nuovo in the capital, in 1734.