Winckelmann’s journey into the classical past

Life in Rome

C.W. Eckersberg (1783-1853), Parti i Villa Albanis have. Rom, 1813-1816

Winckelmann overcame further obstacles on his pilgrimmage to Rome.

The court at Dresden, which was to be his stepping stone to the Eternal

L.H. Lebas (1782-1867), Jardins de la Villa Albano [sic] près Rome, Rome
City, was Catholic. To receive their aid and the sponsorship of Vatican officials Winckelmann converted his faith, albeit reluctantly. His early years were insecure financially, but fortune favoured him when he entered the service of Alessandro Albani, a cardinal and noted connoisseur and collector of antiquity. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe writes of Winckelmann’s time in Rome:

He saw his wishes fulfilled, his happiness assured, his hopes more than satisfied. He saw his ideas in corporeal form around him as he wandered in amazement through the ruins of a gigantic age.[1]

Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Albani

Rome allowed Winckelmann to pursue his aspirations among the artefacts of antiquity. He assisted Albani in decorating his villa with genuine antiquities and new works and befriended Anton Raphael Mengs, the neoclassical painter to whom he dedicated his most famous work, History of the Art of Antiquity (1764).

Portrait of Winckelmann by A. Mengs, after 1755

 

[1] Goethe 1805, 244 (German aesthetic and literary criticism: Goethe)

 

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