The Museo Carlo Bilotti is a contemporary art museum of the city of Rome. Based in “Orangery” of Villa Borghese and houses paintings, sculptures and watercolors of the collection donated by the entrepreneur and collector Carlo Bilotti Italian-American, which includes works by Giorgio De Chirico, paintings by Gino Severini, Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers and a sculpture Giacomo Manzu.
The museum is part of the “Musei in Comune” system and the “Parco dei Musei” project of Villa Borghese.
The de Chirico works on display are representative of the most famous themes produced by the artist from the second half of the Twenties until the Seventies. Themes such as the Archaeologists, the Horses on the River Bank, the Furniture in the Valley or the Room, the Knights or Ancient Warriors, all arose from a happy period of creativity and international recognition, following the years of the first Metaphysical period. In addition to the themes listed above, which appear in the museum in such masterly works as The Mysterious Archaeologists of 1926 and the Furniture in the Room of 1927, other particularly notable pictures on display include the delicate Back of a Naked Woman (about 1930), with which de Chirico, influenced by Renoir, returned to the genre of the female nude, Metaphysical Interior with Biscuits and Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. These last two are replicas, made by the artist in the Sixties, from his masterpieces of the first Metaphysical period. In his works from the Fifties, Self-portrait with the head of Minerva, in which de Chirico wears the dress of a Venetian painter, and Historic regatta in Venice, inspired by Canaletto, the artist declares the necessity of recovering the Italian pictorial tradition.
A building was already present in the area before the seventeenth century intervention by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Manilli, in 1650, describes the Orange as a two-story tower building, covered loggings, a square courtyard painted in colorful and colorful paintings and figures, and a fountain in the middle of the courtyard. Later, besides the alteration of Cardinal Borghese, there were many modifications to the building. These changes have upset the palace, making it almost impossible to recognize its original appearance. At the end of the eighteenth century it was expanded and decorated for the will of Marcantonio IV Borghese, in conjunction with the arrangement of the contiguous “Garden of the Lake”. The building was used for festivals and world events and was known as the “Water Game Casino” for fountains and nymphs in Baroque style.
Since 1776 various artists, including Cristoforo Unterperger and Giuseppe Cades freshened the interior walls, and several paintings were added. Subsequently, a citrus plantar was built.
In 1849, the building was destroyed during the battle of the Roman Republic; a lithograph posterior to the destruction of the building shows that there were only meager remains of the rooms decorated with frescoes. It was then rebuilt with a slightly different shape and without decoration, in order to accommodate the citrus trees during the winter, a function that earned it its current name. In 1903, when Villa Borghese came into possession of the city of Rome, it served as offices and dwellings; until 1982it was the seat of a religious institute and offices of the municipality. The building was finally restored and the exterior was painted red to create a museum dedicated to Carlo Bilotti.
Pietro Canonica was born in Moncalieri in 1869. He attended the Albertina Academy in Turin, in an Italy that has recently achieved unity and is engaged in the difficult task of building the identity of the Italians. In this environment, interwoven with moral and civil commitment, the aesthetic sense of Pietro Canonica is formed, attentive and enthusiastic custodian of the Italian artistic tradition.
Participates in the most important national and international exhibitions: Paris, Venice, London, Berlin, Rome, Brussels, Petersburg. Academician of San Luca and numerous Italian and foreign academies, in 1929 he was nominated Academic of Italy and in 1950 Senator for life.
It is affirmed in the circles of the high aristocracy and is called in all the courts of Europe, where they compete to commission celebratory works, but above all busts, throbbing and incisive portraits, performed with a rare technical expertise and great security in modeling.
From Buckingham Palace to the court of the Tsars, countless are the aristocratic faces that see their most secret interiority expressed in marble.
The First World War erased this world which was a point of reference for the artist as well as his main client, and he devoted himself above all to the great monumental and celebratory compositions. In many Italian squares the memory of the soldiers fallen in the great war is honored with a work by Pietro Canonica.
In 1922 the artist settled in Rome and obtained from the Municipality the use of the “Fortezzuola”, in the splendid setting of Piazza di Siena, where the artist lives and works until his death, in 1959.
The most significant nucleus consists of 18 works by Giorgio De Chirico, one of which is the sculpture Hector and Andromeda, placed outside. Among the paintings are works with typical themes of the master in the period following the first metaphysical painting (those of “archaeologists”, “horses at the seaside”, “furniture in the valley” or “in the room” “Knights” or “ancient warriors”).
The Carlo Bilotti Museum’s permanent collection consists of the gift of 23 works donated by the entrepreneur Carlo Bilotti to the City of Rome, including paintings, drawings and sculptures. The most coherent and central group is made up of 18 works by Giorgio de Chirico (Volos 1888-Rome 1978), of which 17 are displayed in this room and one, a sculpture of Hector and Andromache, is installed outside the Museum. The collection also contains the portraits of Andy Warhol’s Tina and Lisa Bilotti, 1981 Larry Rivers’ Carlo with Dubuffet on the background, 1994, Mimmo Rotella’s Carlo and Tina Bilotti, 1968. Completing the original nucleus of the collection Summer, 1951, by Gino Severini and Cardinal, 1965, by Giacomo Manzu. In this first group have been added in recent years works Consagra, Dynys, Greenfield-Sanders and Pucci.
Other works are: the portraits of Tina and Lisa Bilotti, 1981, by Andy Warhol (Pittsburg 1928- New York 1987) and Carlo with Dubuffet in the background, 1994, by Larry Rivers (New York 1923-2002), the painting The Summer, 1951, by Gino Severini (Cortona 1883 – Paris 1966), and finally a large Cardinal in bronze by Giacomo Manzù (Bergamo 1908 – Roma 1991), displayed outside.
Severini’s neofuturistic work, Summer (1951), bears witness from another angle to the diverse threads of the Bilotti collection. The sorrowful woman, whose contours lose themselves in an almost abstract geometric structure, are part of a series of works dedicated to the theme of human activity as it is connected to the seasons, which the artist subsequently reworked for the Palace of Congress in EUR district in Rome.
Works by Giorgio De Chirico
Mysterious archaeologists (Manichini; The day and night, 1926)
Furniture in the room (1927)
Archaeologists (1927 ca.)
Horses at the seaside (1927- 1928)
Knight with two ancient characters by the sea (1929 ca.)
Blonde woman with shoulders (around 1930)
The solitary archaeologist (c. 1937)
Oreste and Pilade, sculpture in terracotta (1940) VI / VI edition of 1965)
Horse (watercolor, ca. 1950)
Self-portrait with the head of Minerva (fifties)
Historical regattas in Venice (50s)
Warrior holding a bridle horse (c. 1953)
Ancient knight (watercolor, ca. 1960)
Metaphysical interior with biscuits (late sixties, replica of the same author).
Mystery and melancholy of a street, fancliulla with circle (watercolor, seventies, replica of the same author)
The archaeologist, sculpture (1972, edition IV / VII of 1988)
Lonely Orpheus (1973)
Outside the museum is the Ettore and Andromaca sculpture (two copies of 2006 from an original of 1966).
Works by other artists
Gino Severini, L’estate, 1951: the painting is part of a series dedicated to the theme of human activities during the seasons, later reworked for the representations of the Palazzo dei Congressi of the EUR in Rome.
Andy Warhol, Mother and daughter: Tina and Lisa Bilotti, 1981.
Larry Rivers, Carlo with Dubuffet in the background, 1994.
Still outside, there is the bronze sculpture ” Grande cardinale” by Giacomo Manzù (edition of eight copies of 2004 from an original cast of 1965)