By: Amy Fredrickson and Anne Leader

Sculptor, restorer, and antiquarian Bartolomeo Cavaceppi died in Rome on 9 December 1799. Working in Rome for the duration of his career, Cavaceppi trained in the workshop of Pierre-Etinee Monnot, a French sculptor, from 1729 to 1733. Cavaceppi joined the Accademia di San Luca in 1732, and his Roman workshop was famous for its restorations and sale of antiquities. 

His 1743 appointment as Cardinal Albani’s private restorer was the beginning of his successful career. Cavaceppi’s papal connections fostered relationships with Roman collectors and Grand Tourists, especially British patrons who wanted to start their own collections of antiquities. Cavaceppi found, restored, and copied ancient statuary for his clients. He also created new designs based on ancient models, but he executed few original works. 

His style spans the extremely ornate High Baroque to classical examples of marble statuary.  Cavaceppi published three volumes of engravings, Raccolta d’antiche statue, busti, teste cognate (1768-72), which recorded the works he either owned or restored. He did not sign his works, however, so unfortunately his sculptures were often confused with antiques.  In 1770, Clement XIV granted him the Speron d’oro for his contributions to the Museo Pio-Clementino. In 1787, Sigismondo Chigi and Marcantonio Borghese awarded him a lifetime pension. Cavaceppi provided many of the works that formed the collection of the Museo Pio-Clementino and was good friends with antiquarian Johann Joachim Winckelmann. He was the first restorer of his time, and his works became the foundation for several Roman, British, and German collections of eighteenth-century Europe.

Reference: Seymour Howard. “Cavaceppi, Bartolomeo.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Bust of Caracalla, marble, ca. 1750-70, Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 94.SA.46

Statue of a Centaur with its Base, rosso antico, 18th century, Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 82.AL.78.

Hermes tying his Sandal, Roman copy after Lysippos, found at Hadrian’s Villa, restored by Cavaceppi,Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen.

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