Cardinal Alessandro Albani: Collecting, Dealing and Diplomacy in Grand Tour Europe/ Il cardinale Alessandro Albani: collezionismo, diplomazia e mercato nell’Europa del Grand Tour


The first day of a two-day conference bringing together an international range of art historians alongside scholars of related humanistic disciplines to open a new chapter on the multifaceted life and career of Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692–1779), ‘The Father of the Grand Tour’. Day two will be at the Bibliotecca Nazionale Centrale, Castro Pretorio. Organised by Clare Hornsby (BSR) and Mario Bevilacqua (Centro di Studi sulla Cultura e l’Immagine di Roma). This follows the opening evening with keynote lectures by Carlo Gasparri and Salvatore Settis on Wednesday 11 December.

The conference has groups of papers on different themes relating to Alessandro Albani’s life and career including his private life, his association with scholars and artists – particularly Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, his diplomatic and political associations, his dealing and networking in the European art market and of course his antiquities collections – both those he sold and his third collection which remains largely intact at Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome. His particular connection with the British – both as Grand Tourists in Rome and politically as allies of the papacy – is a focus of this conference, notably the sale of his vast drawings collection including the Cassiano del Pozzo ‘Paper Museum’ to the English King George III through the dealing efforts of the architect brothers Robert and James Adam. His commission to the architect Carlo Marchionni for the new Villa outside the northern walls of Rome to house his collection and as a location to host parties for foreign dignitaries is also examined. This conference is taking place only a few months before the long-awaited exhibition of the private Torlonia collection opens in Rome – a collection where many Albani objects have been kept – no doubt this gathering of researchers including both established and younger scholars from a variety of disciplines and international backgrounds will provide a valuable focus for discussion of the future directions for study and research on this most important figure of the Roman 18th century.

During the first full day Thursday 12th at the BSR there will be a presentation by Adriano Aymonino & Colin Thom introducing the Adam letters digital publication project and a display of Albani-related rare books and early photographs of Villa Albani from the BSR library and archive collections alongside the volumes of The Paper Museum of Cassiano del Pozzo: A Catalogue Raisonné, published by the Royal Collection Trust.

The conference is open to all without charge; registration is welcome though not obligatory:

The Conference is generously sponsored by The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and we thank our partners the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, the Fondazione Torlonia and the Royal Collection Trust.

Conference schedule/ Programma del convegno

Wednesday 11th December at the BSR at 18.00/mercoledì 11 dicembre alle 1800 alla BSR

Carlo Gasparri – La collezione di sculture antiche in Villa Albani a Roma: una storia ancora da scrivere
Salvatore Settis – Lo specchio dei principi: fra Villa Albani e il Museo Torlonia

Thursday 12th December at BSR at 9.30/giovedì 12 dicembre alle 9.30 alla BSR

Angela CiprianiIl cardinale Alessandro Albani nei manoscritti del Diario di Roma nella Biblioteca Casanatense (1762-1773)
Heather Hyde MinorWinckelmann and Albani: text and pretext
Ginevra OdoneRivalità e gelosie tra antiquari. Il Conte di Caylus, il cardinale Alessandro Albani e i loro intermediari
Brigitte Kuhn-ForteAlessandro Albani e Winckelmann
Maëlig ChauvinIl cardinale Alessandro Albani e i regali diplomatici : l’arte al servizio della politica.
Susanne Mueller-BechtelIl principe ereditario di Sassonia Federico Cristiano, Alessandro Albani e le arti
Matteo BorchiaI vantaggi della diplomazia: Alessandro Albani protettore di artisti tra Roma e l’Europa
Lisa BeavenFashioning a new classical aesthetic: Camillo Massimo, Alessandro Albani and the palace at the Quattro Fontane
Francesca FavaroIl privilegio di copiare: apprendere l’architettura nella biblioteca di Alessandro Albani. Le copie prodotte da B.A. Vittone (1704-1770).
Rea AlexandratosAlbani drawings and prints in the British Royal Collection: George III’s purchase of 1762.
Robin SimonThe significance of Alessandro Albani’s patronage of Richard Wilson.
Steffi Roettgen“Noi non siamo venuti che per vedere il Parnasso di Mengs” – note sul complesso rapporto del pittore sassone con il cardinale Albani.

Friday 13 December at BNC at 9.30/venerdì 13 dicembre alla Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale

Andrea De PasqualeIntroduzione
Alviera BussottiAlessandro Albani mecenate delle lettere
Brunella Paolini Alessandro Albani nell’archivio di famiglia di Villa Imperiale a Pesaro
Antonio BecchiBibliotheca Albana Romana: documenti inediti e prospettive di ricerca
Susanna PasqualiPhases of construction at Villa Albani: what we know so far
Patricia Baker and Giacomo Savani‘Contriv’d according to the strictest Rules of Art’: The Reception of Roman Baths and Gardens at Villa Albani.
Elisa DebenedettiVilla Albani nei Taccuini di Carlo Marchionni Alessandro Spila – Carlo Marchionni a villa Albani: una possibile evoluzione progettuale
Eloisa DoderoDa Palazzo Albani alle Quattro Fontane al Museo Capitolino: la nuova vita della collezione del cardinale Alessandro.
Caroline BarronThe Epigraphic Collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani
Elizabeth BartmanAlessandro Albani as restorer
Christoph FrankDrawing the Albani Collection: Giovanni Battista Piranesi and some of his Contemporaries

Institutional sponsor: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Institutional partner: Royal Collection Trust.