The artistic heritage of the Sorgente Group Foundation began in 2007 when various prestigious works of art, including sculptures from the Greek and Roman periods and Old Master paintings, were acquired. This led to the development of two different collections: the archaeological collection and one of paintings. Working together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Foundation is committed to a proper preservation of its Collection of Art, with the aim of contributing to improve methods for the conservation, restoration and enhancement of the works of art through the sponsorship of research projects, loans and promotion and through the organization of and participation in exhibitions.
The Archaeological Collection includes works from the Greek age dating back to the 4th century BC and the Roman epoch, which are of considerable importance for their iconography, stylistic devices and historical importance as vestiges of ancient art. The pieces were purchased on the antiquities market and in national and international auctions and come from documented and historicized collections. The understanding, valorisation, restoration and display of the works of art is coordinated and supported by ongoing relations with qualified institutions including superintendencies and museum management and also through collaborations with entities, private institutions and research centres.
Among the oldest findings in the Archaeological Collection are two Attic Lèkythos in Pentelic marble, one of which is almost complete, dating back to the 4th century BC. One of the most valuable works is a bronze mask of extremely fine workmanship, as yet the largest mask preserved from the Hellenistic age (first half of the 1st century BC), which depicts Papposilenus, the oldest and wisest Silenus. In ancient times it was hung with plant garlands as part of the furnishings in the peristyle of a rich domus. The sculpture of Dionysus, which once belonged to a similar environment, stands with a panther skin and an unusual garland of tiny roses encircling his waist, dating back to the second half of the 2nd century AD.
A masterpiece of Roman art is a magnificent portrait in Parian marble (20 BC) identified as Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus who was appointed as the next emperor but who died prematurely. The stylistic devices and smoothness of the shape make the young face one of the greatest masterpieces of the early Augustan age and the most beautiful portrait of the young prince.
Each work in the Archaeological Collection, acquired following careful historical and artistic evaluation by the Scientific Committee and consultation with scholars from the world of academia, serves as an important vestige from the history of ancient art, as described in the texts that follow.
The collection of paintings owned by the Sorgente Group currently includes examples of ancient paintings by illustrious Italian artists, dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries, with particular emphasis on the Emilian school of the 17th century, especially Guido Reni and Guercino, as well as Roman Vedutism of the 18th century.
The collection also includes a masterpiece from the Renaissance by Bernardino de Betto or Pintoricchio, a Madonna with the Blessing Child (subject to heritage preservation regulations, Ministerial Decree 11/10/1990) from the end of the 15th century, displayed in Perugia at the National Gallery of Umbria in 2008 during an exhibition dedicated to the master.
An important example of mannerist style painting is The Holy Family with the young St. John and angels by Michele Tosini, or Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, a painting that includes fundamental elements of the Tuscan school of the first half of the 16th century.
A recent acquisition is the canvas of Saint Cecilia by Giuseppe Cesari, or the Cavalier d’Arpino, a celebrated master from the 16th to the 17th centuries.
The Foundation owns Guido Reni’s extremely touching “Virgin in prayer”.
Another valuable and recent acquisition is a painting from Guercino’s late period, “Diana”, originally conceived as one of two works depicting the mythical encounter between Diana and Endymion. The painting was commissioned by the Roman Count, Fabio Carandini in 1658, as recorded in the Account Book of the painter from Cento; the work was recently cleaned and returned to its original chromatic brilliance.
Expanding the historical and artistic context of the collection are several paintings belonging to the Roman school of the 18th century. One of these is a striking specific view of Rome covered in snow, painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini and a rare depiction of the weather phenomenon that coated the city in white during the winter of 1730. Of equal value is a “View of the Colosseum” by Andrea Locatelli, one of the top exponents of this school.
Finally, an extraordinarily realistic Roman life scene by Giacomo Van Lint completes the pieces from the 18th century. The subject is quite original: the misfortune of a coachman, unseated from his runaway horses near Trajan’s Column.
All these paintings attest to the high level of this genre of painting and the success it found in collectors’ circles in Rome and abroad, an important testimony to the architectural and scenic changes, as well as those in habits and customs, which occurred in Rome during the 18th century.