Cardinal Alessandro Albani


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(b Urbino, 15 Oct. 1692; d Rome, 11 Dec. 1779).

Italian churchman, collector, and art patron, a major figure in the art world of Rome for half a century. He came from a distinguished family that included several cardinals and also Pope Clement XI (his uncle), but he led a worldly life and was notorious for his lucrative dealings in the art market, not hesitating to have antique sculptures heavily restored if it made them sell better. His own superb collection of such sculpture (much of which is now in the Glyptothek in Munich) was housed in an impressive villa he had built in Rome (now called the Villa Torlonia); the decoration included Mengs's famous ceiling painting Parnassus (1761), one of the key works of Neoclassicism. Albani also had a notable collection of drawings, which he sold to George III in 1762 (see Royal Collection). Winckelmann was Albani's friend and protégé.

Subjects: Art.

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