Journal Article

The ‘<i>Cupid</i> affair’ (1596)

Yvan Loskoutoff

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 19-27
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhr025
The ‘Cupid affair’ (1596)

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Cardinal Del Monte, Caravaggio’s patron, is well known for his painting collection. This article deals with his efforts as a collector of antiquities, to obtain, free of charge, a statue of Cupid found in an excavation in the garden of the Roman house of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fabio Biondi, a protégé of Del Monte’s best friend, Cardinal Montalto (1596). It is based on the correspondence of the Patriarch (then vice-legate to Portugal), currently in the Vatican Archives. It also documents an earlier excavation in this garden, in 1594. Del Monte’s eager quest for a male statue may be viewed in the context of his moral reputation. The Cupid, restored by Silla Longhi and now in the Louvre by way of the Borghese collection – and also celebrated by Winckelmann – may be considered as a landmark in the history of taste.

Journal Article.  7057 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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