Upcoming Exhibition

Inventing the Baroque: The Pursuit of Roman Splendor

Inventing the Baroque brings together approximately forty models from the outstanding collections of Rome’s prestigious Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini museums and includes examples by many of the leading artists of the time. Through this original investigation of understudied works of art, many of which will be shown in the United States for the first time, the exhibition offers fascinating and fresh insights into the origins, aesthetics, and diffusion of Baroque art. It affirms the creative vibrancy of the artist’s studio and reveals a new narrative of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century social prestige rooted in this collection of bozzetti that invigorated the majestic galleries of noble palaces.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sumptuously painted ceilings, magnificent altarpieces, monumental sculptures, and integrated painted environments glorified the grandeur of Rome and its most prominent families. While these extraordinary site-specific works of art have defined the visual culture of the Eternal City, the artists who created them also produced intricate, scaled-down versions that were highly coveted objects and exemplify the creative force of the Baroque age. Stylistically complex and emotionally evocative, these sketches and models—called bozzetti—are highly sophisticated paintings and sculptures. They reveal crucial histories about the development of the most innovative artistic practices of the period and offer a unique lens into the tangled web of patronage and influence that characterize Baroque Rome.

Bozzetti were both standalone artworks and archetypes for larger commissions. As preparatory studies, they allowed artists to explore new techniques and develop the required forms and ideas that would animate the awe-inspiring force of their larger commissions. As presentation pieces or as commemorative models, they served as lasting reminders of magnificent, finished paintings and sculptures that could indicate the depth of an artist’s talent or the magnitude of a collector’s taste and influence.



Available 2023-2024


Paola Nicita is a curator at the Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini and the author of the monograph Musei e storia dell’arte a Roma. Palazzo Corsini, Palazzo Venezia, Castel Sant’Angelo e Palazzo Barberini tra XIX e XX secolo as well as several exhibition catalogues and scholarly articles. In her present role, she also oversees the Museo Laboratorio at the Palazzo Barberini.

Alessandro Cosma is a curator at the Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini and the author of Storie di Palazzo Corsini. Protagonisti e vicende nell’Ottocento as well as numerous scholarly papers. He also serves as the editor of Imago Augustini: the corpus of the iconography of St. Augustine from the origin to the 18th century. He has organized and curated several exhibitions at both the Galleria Corsini and the Palazzo Barberini.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.


Inventing the Baroque is co-organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini in Rome, in collaboration with LoveItaly.

The exhibition is supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.


For booking information, contact Ilaria Conti at iconti@amfedarts.org or 212.988.7700 ext. 216