National Gallery of Ancient Art - Palazzo Corsini

Via della Lungara 10. (Open Map)


After cardinal Lorenzo Corsini was elected pope with the name of Clement the Twelfth (1730-1740), his family moved from Florence to Rome, purchasing the sixteenth century Palazzo Riario, former residence of the Queen Christine of Sweden that housed the Accademia of the Arcadia at the foot of the Janiculum. The building was restructured and enlarged between 1732 and 1736 by the Florentine architect Ferdinando Fuga. 

By will of cardinal Neri, nephew of the Pope, the library was the most important of its time in Rome after the Vatican Library and part of the family’s works of art were transferred to the new wings of the Palace. When the Corsini family moved back to Florence in 1883, the Palace was sold to the State including the collections that were also donated. The Corsini collection that constitutes one of the funds of the National Gallery of Ancient Art, is the only Roman eighteenth century collection of marbles, statues, and paintings that was conserved intact. Its pieces testify the classic and anti-baroque trends of the first half of the eighteenth century. 

The collection consists of sculptures of the Roman Age, neoclassic statues, small eighteenth century bronzes and furniture, paintings by seventeenth-eighteenth century authors from the Roman, Neapolitan, and Bolognese schools with important groups of landscape painters. The best known authors include Frà Angelico (Last Judgement), P.P. Rubens (St. Sebastian cured by the Angels), Guido Reni (Salome with the head of the Baptist), Guercino (Ecce Homo), Caravaggio (St. John the Baptist), Annibale Carracci, Mattia Preti. In addition to the Gallery the Palace also houses the prestigious Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, institution founded in 1603.