Giovanni Maria Torlonia

Bertel Thorwaldsen (1770-1844)
19th century, Marble

Bertel Thorvaldsen, a Danish sculptor who was one of the greatest exponents of neoclassicism, produced a distinctly monumental style which was softened by the detailed features. He moved to Rome in 1797, and from then onwards he dedicated himself to studying the ancient arts, and the works of Antonio Canova (1757-1822), going on to analyse the theories of J.J. Winckelmann and A.C.

Quatremère de Quincy; from 1811 onwards, he taught sculpture at the San Luca Academy. Giovanni Torlonia, who had benefited from successful speculation with the French during Rome’s occupation by Napoleonic troops, offered the Roman nobility loans guaranteed by their land and property, lent by the Marino Torlonia Bank, which later became the Torlonia e Compagni Bank. It was subsequently wound up in 1863 by his son Alessandro, who had in the meantime become a Prince. As a result, incredible wealth passed into his hands: it was a fortune so great and so flaunted, that the name “Torlonia” became a byword in popular Roman for boundless riches