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Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò

(b Florence, Jan 15, 1689; d Rome, June 4, 1775).

Italian historian, collector and writer. His special interests were the literature of Tuscany during the 14th and 15th centuries, medieval and contemporary art, sacred archaeology and ecclesiastical history. As a scholar of art he brought out (in 1730) a new edition of Raffaele Borghini Il riposo … and wrote the Dialoghi sopra le tre arti del disegno, which was published some years later (Lucca, 1754). The artistic theories he expressed in these works owed something to L. A. Muratori and were influenced by a view of works of art as documents of their time. He exalted the classical traditions of Tuscan art in the early and high Renaissance, praised the classicism of the Carracci and bluntly opposed Mannerist and Baroque art. In the Dialoghi he demonstrated a practical interest, unusual for the period, in methods of restoring and conserving artefacts.

Bottari served the Corsini family from 1718, in Florence at first and then in Rome, where he was summoned in ...


(b Givry, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, Jan 4, 1747; d Paris, April 28, 1825).

French museum director, writer, graphic artist, collector, archaeologist and diplomat. He was the son of a provincial aristocrat. He went to Paris to further his law studies c. 1765 but entered the studio of Noël Hallé. He became Gentleman-in-Ordinary to Louis XV and was appointed keeper of the collection of engraved gems and medals that Mme de Pompadour had left to the King. In 1772 he entered the diplomatic service as attaché to the French embassy at St Petersburg, he was subsequently posted to Stockholm, Geneva (where his disrespectful engraving Repast at Ferney, of 4 July 1775, angered Voltaire) and, from spring 1776, Naples. There he became acquainted with Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador, and made many drawings of his future wife Emma. Denon began to acquire a diverse collection of paintings and engravings as well as antiquities from excavations at Nola, Catania, Agrigento, Pompeii and Herculaneum. He purchased the painting of the ...


Luca Leoncini

(b Lugnano nel Lazio, 1664; d Rome, Feb 1, 1747).

. Italian scholar, archaeologist and antique collector. His studies and his major writings were devoted to ancient art, and were closely linked with the objects he collected throughout his life. These formed an important collection which earned him great fame, but which was dispersed after his death. It contained small objects and rarities including mirrors, graffiti, lead seals, coins, cameos, lockets and tesserae. The most important piece was undoubtedly the famous Ficoroni Cist from Praeneste (c. 325–c. 300 bc; Rome, Villa Giulia; see Etruscan §VI). One of Ficoroni’s most important studies, published in Rome in 1745, was devoted to his native village, identified with the ancient Labicum. Another of his principal works, Le vestigia e rarità di Roma (1744), was also concerned with topographical matters. Ficoroni was elected correspondent of the Academy of Inscriptions and member of the Royal Academies of Paris and London and the Accademia Peloritana of Messina. He founded the Colonia Esquilina degli Inculti....


(b Château de Robien, nr Quentin, Nov 4, 1698; d Rennes, June 5, 1756).

French lawyer, archaeologist, collector and writer. His attempt to create a Breton Académie des Sciences et Belles-Lettres was thwarted by King Louis XV, but Robien continued to organize excavations and collect information and in 1756 completed a Description historique et topographique de l’Ancienne Armorique ou Petite Bretagne … (Rennes, Bib. Mun.). In his hôtel in Rennes, Robien formed a collection of c. 3800 antiquities and natural history specimens unique in Brittany and famous throughout Europe. His library contained prints and more than 1000 drawings, several acquired in 1741 from the Crozat estate. Most notable among them were an Italian series comprising works by Giovanni Bellini, Botticelli, Leonardo and Pontormo, and examples from the French school of the 16th to 18th centuries (e.g. Nicolas Lagneau, Jacques Bellange, Simon Vouet, Eustache Le Sueur, Antoine Watteau, François Lemoyne) and such north Europeans as Bernard van Orley (see Orley, van family §(2)), ...


Mary Ann A. Powers

(b Barnet, Herts, 1732; d Ridge, March 19, 1799).

English diplomat, antiquary and collector. After graduating from Cambridge in 1753, he travelled to southern France and Italy, where he pursued interests in archaeology and science. In 1766 he was admitted a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. His archaeological tours of southern Wales in 1768 and northern Italy in 1771 led to several publications, including ‘An Account of Some Remains of Roman and Other Antiquities in and Near the Town of Brecknock’ (Archaeologia, i); ‘Account of Some Antient Roman Inscriptions Lately Discovered in the Provinces of Istria and Dalmatia’ (Archaeologia, iii); and ‘Origin of Natural Paper found near Cortona in Tuscany’ (Philos. Trans., lix). In November 1773 he accepted the appointment of British Resident at Venice.

In Venice, Strange met the Venetian art dealer Giovanni Maria Sasso, with whom he maintained a friendship and business partnership for 20 years. Their extensive correspondence, now in the Epistolario Moschini, Biblioteca Correr, Venice, documents their involvement in the Venetian art market of the 18th century. Through his own art dealings and with the assistance of Sasso, Strange amassed a collection of 436 paintings, which was privately auctioned on his death by ‘Mr Wilson of the European Museum’. The collection, which reflected an appreciation for the richness of Venetian painting, contained works by Old Masters as well as moderns. ...