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Mario and Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings relating to the Villa Borghese in Rome and other Borghese commissions, 1786-early 1800s

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Title: Mario and Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings relating to the Villa Borghese in Rome and other Borghese commissions
Dates: 1786-early 1800s
Number: 2021.M.12
Creator/Collector: Asprucci, Mario, 1764-1804
Extent: 41 Sheets (12 linear feet)
Abstract: The architectural drawings by Mario Asprucci, his father Antonio Asprucci, and their associates, dating from 1786 to the early 1800s, document the buildings and gardens of the Villa Borghese in Rome that were commissioned by Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese as well as other Borghese commissions. They reveal the importance of Mario Asprucci's contributions and include designs he made for the Temple of Aesculapius and the unrealized Museo Gabino.
Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record for this collection. Click here for the access policy.
Language: Collection material is in Italian with some English and Latin.
Repository: The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
Business Number: (310) 440-7390
Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
reference@getty.edu
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
(310) 440-7390

Biographical / Historical

The Villa Borghese on the Pincian Hill in Rome was commissioned in the early seventeenth century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1576-1633) who was a nephew of Pope Paul V (1552-1621) and whose numerous positions within the Roman Church enabled him to become an influential collector and art patron. The Villa's Casino Nobile (now home to the Galleria Borghese) was conceived to house his collection of antique statuary, which featured the Borghese Gladiator, the Sleeping Hermaphroditus, and the Centaur with Cupid, now at the Louvre. In the following century, Prince Marcantonio IV (1730-1800) took up the Borghese tradition of art patronage, expanding the collection and undertaking the renovation of the Villa's architecture and gardens. Antonio Asprucci (1723-1808) was the architect who directed this ambitious project of modernization.

Antonio Asprucci was born in Rome in 1723, the son of an architect named Mario Asprucci. He became an assistant to Nicola Salvi (1697-1751), the architect who designed the Trevi Fountain. In 1756, he was appointed by Francis, Grand Duke of Tuscany, as architect for the duke's buildings in Rome and undertook the restorations of the Villa Medici. In 1772, he became a member of the Accademia di San Luca, the academy for painters, sculptors and architects, and in 1790, was elected principe or director of the academy. He also held positions within the city of Rome, as Sotto Maestro delle Strade for the area of Trevi and that of Campo Marzio.

Beginning in 1773, Antonio Asprucci appeared on the household rolls of Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese and served as the Borghese family architect until 1805 with his main project being the design of pavilions and gardens in the Villa Borghese on the Pincian Hill. In this campaign of architectural renewal, Antonio collaborated with his son Mario and a dynamic circle of artists and architects (including Tommaso Conca, Jacob More, and Cristoforo Unterberger), and antiquarians, most notably Ennio Quirino Visconti, who was later responsible for the display of antiquities at the Musée Napoléon, now the Louvre.

The life and work of Mario Asprucci (1764-1804), the son of Antonio, is not well documented. In 1786, at the age of 22, Antonio's designs for an academy of fine arts earned him the first prize in the Balestra competition, which was organized by the Accademia di San Luca. Five years later he entered the architectural competition organized by the Parma Academy, where his drawings also won first prize. Although Mario learned his trade from his father (and inherited from him the post of architect to the Borghese), he departed from the elder's late baroque idiom, embracing instead the authority of the antique and its rational and functional language.

Mario Asprucci developed his skills as an architect and draftsman in an environment where Rome was becoming a prime source for classical inspiration. For example, the Pio Clementino Museum was established in 1772 to house the Vatican antiquities. Artists came from across Europe to learn how to infuse a modern view of antiquity into all elements of art and design, with the neoclassical artists Antonio Canova, Gavin Hamilton, and Henri Füssli spending extensive periods in Rome.

Beginning in 1792, Mario attended meetings of the Accademia della Pace, an informal association of international artists that was founded as a critical response to the traditionalism of the Accademia di San Luca. Several architects participated in this group, producing conceptual drawings for grand civic architecture. Although he never left Rome, Mario was closely associated with several English figures of note: he mentored the young architect Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842) and, around 1794, received a commission from Frederick Hervey (1730-1803), 4th Earl of Bristol, to design his residence at Ickworth.

Mario excelled as a draftsman, working in the traditional media of pen, ink, and watercolor, as well as in graphite, which was imported from England. In spite of these auspicious beginnings, Mario's career was cut short at age 39 and his output remained overshadowed by that of his father. His drawings suggest that had he lived a longer life, he would have become one of the most influential voices in the early 19th-century neoclassical urban renewal of Rome.

References consulted:

Carole Paul, Making a Prince's Museum. Drawings for the Late-Eighteen Century Redecoration of the Villa Borghese (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2000).

Susanna Pasquali, Mario Asprucci. Neoclassical Architecture in Villa Borghese, 1786-1796 (Roma: Arti Grafiche La Moderna, 2018).


Scope and Content of Collection

This group of architectural drawings, comprising forty-five drawings on forty-one sheets, documents the refurbishment of the Villa Borghese on the Pincian hill that was commissioned by Prince Marcantonio Borghese. The drawings include highly finished presentation sheets as well as utilitarian, preparatory studies. As architect to the Borghese family, Antonio Asprucci directed the work, however the drawings shed light on the role played by his son, Mario, and on Mario's use of a neoclassical vocabulary in the designs of pavilions, fountains, and other architectural elements.

Seventeen sheets (2012.M.12.1-2012.M.12.17) relate to designs for pavilions, realized or unrealized, in the Villa Borghese gardens. The majority of these sheets are attributed to Mario Asprucci, including one for the Temple of Aesculapius, three for the aqueduct or Acqua Felice, four presenting alternate designs for fountains overlooking the Casino dei giochi d'acqua, as well as one for the Museo Gabino.

Other drawings by Mario Asprucci, his father Antonio, and their associates, relate to other Borghese commissions. These include designs by Mario Asprucci for a rotunda (2021.M.12.24) and for farmhouses (2021.M.12.20-2021.M.12.21), and a survey by an unidentified draftsman or architect of the Borghese granary at Pratica di Mare outside of Rome (2021.M.12.33).

Three sheets (2021.M.12.39-2021.M.12.41) cannot be attributed with certainty to Mario or Antonio Asprucci or their associates, nor can they even be confirmed as Borghese commissions.

Numerous sheets are stamped on the recto with the mark of the Italian collector Andrea Manto. Several sheets are annotated in a later hand in English.

The drawings are undated, unless noted. The titles are derived from curatorial notes and from Susanna Pasquali, Mario Asprucci: Neoclassical Architecture in Villa Borghese, 1786-1796.

Arrangement

The sheets are organized by projects. Sheets 1-17 are designs for built or unrealized pavilions in the Villa Borghese gardens. Sheets 18-25 relate to unidentified commissions for the Villa Borghese or other Borghese estates outside of Rome. Sheets 26-38 are by architects or draftsmen working in the service of the Borghese family. Sheets 39-41 are by unidentified architects or draftsmen and may not be related to the Asprucci or Borghese with certainty.


Restrictions

Access

Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.


Indexing Terms

Subjects - Topics

Architecture--Italy--Rome
Neoclassicism (Architecture)

Subjects - Places

Rome (Italy) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Villa Borghese (Rome, Italy : Park)

Genres and Forms of Material

Architectural drawings (visual works)

Contributors

Asprucci, Antonio, 1723-1808
Asprucci, Mario, 1764-1804
Borghese, Marcantonio, principe, 1730-1800

Related Material

Several other archives held at the Getty Research Institute document the work of Mario and Antonio Asprucci:

- Antonio Asprucci designs, ca. 1800, Accession no. 860224*

- Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings for the Villa Borghese, ca. 1770-ca. 1793, Accession no. 880400*

- Mario Asprucci Villa Borghese ceiling and wall designs, ca. 1785, Accession no. 880431

- Camuccini, Vincenzo, 1771-1844. Mario Asprucci, architect to the Prince Borghese at Rome, Accession no. 2002.M.5.

See the Library Catalog of the Getty Research Institute.

Other repositories with drawings by Mario Asprucci include:

- Accademia di San Luca, Rome, which holds the eight Balestra competition designs

- Centro internazionale di studi architettura A. Palladio, Vicenza, which holds designs formerly owned by Alessandro Papafava (1784-1861)

- Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna

- Kunstbibliothek, Berlin

- Soane Museum, London, which holds designs formerly owned by Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842)

- National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, which holds designs formerly owned by Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842)

- Royal Institute of British Architects, London

- Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, which holds designs formerly owned by Giovanni Piancastelli (1845-1926), director of the Villa Borghese

Digitized Material

The archive was digitized in 2022 and the images are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2021m12


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mario and Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings relating to the Villa Borghese in Rome and other Borghese commissions, 1786-early 1800s, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2021.M.12.

http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa2021m12

Immediate Source of Acquisition - Acquisition Information

Acquired in 2021.

Processing Information

Karen Meyer-Roux prepared this finding aid in November 2021.


Container List

Series I. Mario and Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings relating to the Villa Borghese in Rome and other Borghese commissions, 1786-early 1800s
Mario and Antonio Asprucci architectural drawings relating to the Villa Borghese in Rome and other Borghese commissions

flatfile
1** 2021.M.12.1 Asprucci, Mario. Design for the Temple of Aesculapius, Villa Pinciana: Side and Rear View, 1786
1 architectural drawing : pen and brown ink and watercolor ; sheet 29.2 × 43.1 cm. Inscribed at center in graphite: Mario Asprucci Arch. / Villa Borghese / Giardino del Lago. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
1** 2021.M.12.2 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Round Temple, Villa Pinciana: Plan and Elevation
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink, with gray, pink and blue washes ; sheet 28.4 x 43.7 cm.
1** 2021.M.12.3 Recto: Design for the Acqua Felice, Villa Pinciana; Verso: Asprucci, Mario. Design for the Acqua Felice, Villa Pinciana
Recto: 1 architectural drawing : pen and brown ink, brown wash, and graphite ; sheet 28.5 x 41.5 cm. Possible attribution to Mario Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Verso: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 28.5 x 41.5 cm. Inscribed at upper right: Mario Asprucci Arch. / Villa Borghese / Opposite the Giardino del Lago. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
1** 2021.M.12.4 View of the Acqua Felice, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 37 x 29 cm. Unidentified attribution. Inscribed in the drawing: Ne Quem Mitissimus Amnis Jmpediat. Inscribed at lower center: in Villa Borghese. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
1** 2021.M.12.5 Asprucci, Mario. Studies for a Fence for the Giardino del Lago, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : pen and brown ink ; sheet 38.3 x 33.2 cm. Inscribed at center in graphite: Mario Asprucci Arch. / Villa Borghese / Giardino del Lago. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Drawing by or after Mario Asprucci.
1** 2021.M.12.6 Design for the Placement of a Statue of Septimius Severus in the Giardino del Lago, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink ; sheet 27.5 x 37.4 cm. Possible attribution to Mario Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
flatfile
2** 2021.M.12.7 Asprucci Workshop. Designs for a Fountain with Palemon and a Dolphin, Casino dei giochi d'acqua, Aranceria, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink, and wash ; sheet 34.9 x 25.7 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
2** 2021.M.12.8 Asprucci Workshop. Designs for a Fountain with Palemon and a Dolphin, Casino dei giochi d'acqua, Aranceria, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite and wash ; sheet 25.7 x 38.4 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
2** 2021.M.12.9 Asprucci Workshop. Designs for a Fountain, Casino dei giochi d'acqua, Aranceria, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : pen and black ink, wash, and graphite ; sheet 25.7 x 39 cm. Inscribed in graphite at lower right: (...) in Museum. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
2** 2021.M.12.10 Asprucci Workshop. Designs for a Fountain, Casino dei giochi d'acqua, Aranceria, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and ink, and wash ; sheet 25.8 x 38.5 cm
2** 2021.M.12.11 Christopher Unterperger Workshop. Design for a Ruined Temple, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 31.2 x 46.5 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
2** 2021.M.12.12 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Pavilion for Hercules, Telephus and Deer, and for the Reclining Silenus, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 43.4 x 29.5 cm. Drawing possibly executed in collaboration with Ennio Quirino Visconti (?). Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
flatfile
3** 2021.M.12.13 Designs for the Layout of the External Spaces in Front of the Rear Façade of the Casino della Cappella, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and gray ink, and gray and pink washes ; sheet 37.4 x 59.1 cm. Possible attribution of drawing to Mario Asprucci.
3** 2021.M.12.14 Asprucci Workshop. Design for a Fountain with a Statue of Hecate Triformis: Elevation and Plan
1 architectural drawing : graphite and gray and blue washes ; sheet 26.9 x 38 cm
3** 2021.M.12.15 Design for a Fountain with a Faun Playing the Scabellum and Four Egyptian Lions, Villa Pinciana
1 architectural drawing : pen and black ink and watercolor ; sheet 27.2 x 44.9 cm. Inscribed in graphite at lower center: This fountain was behind the Gallery. The statue was sold to the Boncompagni. Drawing possibly executed by Mario Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
3** 2021.M.12.16 Asprucci, Mario. Project for the new Museo Gabino: Elevation, 1792
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 30.3 x 43.5 cm. Inscribed: Monumenta E. Municipi Ruderibus Lacum Adspectantibus In Fundo Suo Tablino. A Fundamentis Extructo Marcus. Antonius. Burghesius Musis Et Artibus Dal. Ci I cc LXXXXii.
3** 2021.M.12.17 Recto: Asprucci, Mario. Studies for the Propylaea, Villa Pinciana; Verso: Asprucci, Mario. Study after Giovanni Battista Piranesi of an Antique Sepulcher on the Road to Tivoli
Recto: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 28.4 x 41.6 cm. Inscribed at lower right: First idea for the gate at Muro Torto. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Verso: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; 28.4 x 41.6 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Related work: G. B. Piranesi, Veduta di un sepolcro antico ... per la strada di Tivoli (G. B. Piranesi, Le antichità romane, t.II, tav. XXXIX).
flatfile
4** 2021.M.12.18 Variations on Mario Asprucci's Designs for the Propylaea: Side Elevation, Central Front, Plan
1 architectural drawing : pen and black ink, wash, and graphite marks ; sheet 65.5 x 46 cm. The drawing is possibly attributed to an architect or draftsman working in the circle of Mario Asprucci.
4** 2021.M.12.19 Idea per un ingresso di un grande giardino: aspetto laterale interno, aspetto esterno, pianta
1 architectural drawing : pen and black ink and wash ; sheet 65 x 49 cm. Inscriptions: Idea per un ingresso di un grande giardino / Aspetto laterale interno / Aspetto esterno / Pianta / A. Grande ingresso. B. Ingressi particolari per i pedoni. C. Camere per i custodi. D. Portici per trattenimento delle vetture. In the center two scales in Parisian feet. The drawing is possibly attributed to an architect or draftsman working in the circle of Mario Asprucci.
flatfile
5** 2021.M.12.20 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Horse Farm: Elevation
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and ink, and brown watercolor ; sheet 32.3 x 45.1 cm. Inscribed at lower left and center: Asprucci.
5** 2021.M.12.21 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Dairy Farm: Elevation
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 23.7 x 32.5 cm.
5** 2021.M.12.22 Recto: Asprucci, Mario. Fountain with Nymphaeum: Section; Verso: Asprucci, Mario. Fountain with Nymphaeum: Façade
Recto: 1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and ink, and gray wash ; sheet 37.8 x 64.1 cm. Inscribed at center: Asprucci. Verso: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 37.8 x 64.1 cm.
5** 2021.M.12.23 Recto: Asprucci Workshop. Design for a Garden Exedra; Verso: Asprucci Workshop. Schematic Plan of the Enclosure in Front of the Casino Nobile
Recto: 1 architectural drawing : graphite and gray wash ; sheet 22.6 x 35.3 cm. Inscribed at lower left: Asprucci. Verso: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 22.6 x 35.3 cm.
5** 2021.M.12.24 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Rotunda all'anticà
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink, and wash ; sheet 46.2 x 37 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
5** 2021.M.12.25 Asprucci, Mario. Design for a Pavilion Suggestive of an Ancient Roman Dwelling: Section
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink ; sheet 20 x 57 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
flatfile
6** 2021.M.12.26 Asprucci, Antonio. Design for a Loggia on Pillars and Columns: Section and Side Elevation
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink, and pink, brown and gray washes ; sheet 24.2 x 45.7 cm
6** 2021.M.12.27 Design for a Loggia on Tuscan Pillars and Columns,
1 architectural drawing : pen and black ink, wash, and graphite ; sheet 33.4 x 41.7 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
6** 2021.M.12.28 Asprucci, Antonio. Design for a Mantelpiece
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and black ink, and wash ; sheet 37.6 x 26.4 cm. Includes a scale in palmi (Roman).
6** 2021.M.12.29 Asprucci, Antonio. Design for a Mantelpiece
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 28.7 x 43.5 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. On verso: drawing of a fireplace.
flatfile
7** 2021.M.12.30 Asprucci Workshop. Two Designs for a Monumental Entrance
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and brown ink, and gray wash ; sheet 48.1 x 26 cm
7** 2021.M.12.31 Asprucci Workshop. Design for a Gate between Supporting Pillars and Retaining Walls: Elevation and Plan
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and ink, and gray wash ; sheet 38.9 x 25.6 cm. Inscribed at lower left: Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower right: AM.
7** 2021.M.12.32 Asprucci Workshop. Design for a Gate between Supporting Pillars and Retaining Walls: Elevation and Plan
1 architectural drawing : graphite, pen and brown ink, and brown wash ; sheet 38.6 x 25.5 cm. Inscribed at lower left: Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower right: AM.
7** 2021.M.12.33 Piante del granaro (Survey of the Borghese Granary at Pratica di Mare: Plans and Section)
1 architectural drawing : pen and brown ink and watercolor ; sheet 46.1 x 32 cm. Attribution of the drawing unidentified. Inscribed at top center: Piante del Granaro acquistato dal Sig.re D.Marco Antonio Borghese nella Terra di Pratica di Casa Sacchetti. Inscribed in the drawing: Pianta Superiore - Piano Terreno. Inscribed at lower center: Faccciata verso strada / Scala di P.mi cento romani.
7** 2021.M.12.34 Asprucci Workshop. Design for a Fountain in the City
1 architectural drawing : black wash and graphite ; sheet 22.3 x 37.1 cm. Inscribed at lower right in graphite: 1786 Mario Asprucci. Collector's stamp at upper left: AM.
7** 2021.M.12.35 Recto: One of the Aedicules in the Egyptian Room, Casino Nobile; Verso: Design for an Altar or Doorway: Elevation
Recto: 1 architectural drawing : graphite and pen and brown ink ; sheet 37 x 25.8 cm. Possible attribution of drawing to Mario Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Verso: 1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 37 x 25.8 cm. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
flatfile
8** 2021.M.12.36 Asprucci, Antonio. Design for a New Layout of the Ground Floor of a Building
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 38 x 61 cm. Inscribed at center: mezzo de portico. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
8** 2021.M.12.37 Design for a Room Overlooking a Balcony
1 architectural drawing : graphite and pen and black ink ; sheet 26.6 x 38.4 cm. Attribution of the drawing is unidentified. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
8** 2021.M.12.38 Elevation of the Side of a Building with Two Turrets and Large Windows
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 26 x 37.5 cm. Attribution of the drawing is unidentified. The design is possibly for a greenhouse. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
8** 2021.M.12.39 Coro per i canonici (Design for the Choir-Stalls of a Church)
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 37.6 x 24 cm. Attribution of drawing is unidentified. Inscribed at lower center: Coro per i Canonici. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.
8** 2021.M.12.40 Design for a Tomb Chapel: Section
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 40.5 x 61.3 cm. Inscribed at lower center: Asprucci. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM. Pasquali dates the drawing from after the death of Mario Asprucci in 1804, concluding that the attribution on the sheet is erroneous, and suggests a possible attribution to Luigi Canina (1795-1856), architect of the Borghese from 1818. See Pasquali. Mario Asprucci (2018), page 98.
8** 2021.M.12.41 Designs for a Large U-shaped Building: Studies for the Elevation
1 architectural drawing : graphite ; sheet 19.4 x 37.6 cm. Attribution of drawing is unidentified. Collector's stamp at lower left: AM.