ANN Nov 15, 2001

PRE: GIOVE Virtual Giustiniani Collection (engl. version)

Maximilian Benker

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 21:17:43 +0000

The Giustiniani Collection in a virtual environment

The history of the Project
In 1960 Luigi Salerno published the inventory of the painting
collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani in the Burlington Magazine. For the
History of Art this was not only an important discovery because it was
now possible to verify old ascriptions by the names and measures given
in the inventory. It was also the rediscovery of one of the most
important collections of the early 17th century in Rome that regained
it's profile from a list of more than 600 paintings. Because -
different from other private collections of the same period - the
Giustiniani collection can today no longer be admired in it's original
place. At the end of the 18th century it was sold and dispersed all
over the world. In 1815 the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III.
bought 157 paintings of the Giustiniani collection in Paris. For this
reason the greatest, today still known part of the collection is in
the possession of the Berlin Gemaeldegalerie and the Stiftung
Preussische Schloesser und Gaerten. The research of Salerno was the
offspring of many studies on the roman history of collections.

But only through the discovery of two inventories from the possession
of cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani, the elder brother of Vincenzo, by
Prof. Silvia Danesi Squarzina it is obvious, that it was not Vincenzo
alone who as a connoisseur and patron of the arts, was responsible for
the fame of the collection that spread over the whole of Europe.
Silvia Danesi Squarzina published her results 1997 also in the
Burlington Magazine. It was also her, as a professor for the History
of Arts at the Universita la Sapienza, who started in 1994 a profound
research on the Giustiniani collection. In 1998 she established a
research group with young scholars: Luisa Capoduro, Irene Baldriga
Giovanna Capitelli and Cecila Mazzetti that intensified the studies
and began to prepare an exhibition that should reunite the most
important still known paintings from the Giustiniani collection in the
Palazzo Giustiniani and show the exhibition also in Berlin were today
the most Giustiniani paintings are kept. A little later together with
Prof. Rudolf Preimesberger and Maximilian Benker of the
Kunsthistorisches Institut der Freien Universitaet and Dr. Andreas
Bienert from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin they developed the idea
to present not only the most important paintings of the collection in
an exhibition but also to reconstruct the collection with all its
facets permanently in the Internet and in this way make available
information on the collection all over the world. Dr. Bienert assumed
the co-ordination of the project. The Stiftung Preussische Schloesser
und Gaerten with Gerd Bartoschek and Dr. Christoph M. Vogtherr and the
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien with Dr. Prohaska could be gained as
further partners. The project has been supported by the
Raphael-programme of the European Commission since 1999. For the
members of the different research groups see addtitonally the website
under "partners".

The projects analysis of collection strategy, opinions on taste, the
international orientation of leading patrons and collectors, and the
information regarding the fate of their art works in later times, is
expected to make a significant contribution towards the understanding
of common European culture.

The research
The research of Prof. Danesi Squarzina and her group is today the
basis of all occupation with the Giustiniani collection. She has dealt
in numerous publications with the collection and their works of art.
Currently the main field of research of the team of Prof. Danesi
Squarzina are all surviving inventories of the Giustiniani family from
the 16th to the 18th century which she discovered in the Roman

The museum-partners in Berlin and Potsdam are working manly on the
fate of the Giustiniani paintings in Prussia. The foundation of this
work was already laid in the sixties, when the later curator of the
Italian Baroque in the Gemaeldegalerie, Erich Schleier, as a young
assistant analysed the sales catalogues of Landon (1812) and Delaroche
(1808/1812) - the main source for the purchase of the Giustiniani
paintings for Berlin. At that time this was only possible for the
West-Berlin paintings. Other important steps were the publication of
the first Gemaeldegalerie catalogue of 1830 together with actual
catalogue numbers and the publication of the catalogue of the lost
paintings of the Gemaeldegalerie by Rainer Michaelis and the research
on the history of the Berlin Museums by Dr. Christoph M. Vogtherr.
This work as well as the research of Gerd Bartoschek on the
Giustiniani paintings in possession of formerly royal castles of
Prussia will be continued with the database that will be established
within the GIOVE-project.

The GIOVE-group of the Kunsthistorisches Institut der Freien
Universitaet directed by Prof. Rudolf Preimesberger and since February
also by Prof. Eberhard Koenig, with Maximilian Benker, Iris Wenderholm
and Marion Kaminski (since July 2000 Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
organised in June 2000 together with the Stiftung Preussische
Schloesser und Gaerten a conference on the history of the Giustiniani
collection in Berlin and other new discoveries on the Giustiniani
collection. In December followed a seminar during which studies on
Berlin Giustinian paintings were presented. At both events
participated not only the partners of the GIOVE-project and scholars
from all over Europe but also professors, students and graduates of
the Kunsthistorisches Institut der Freien Universitaet. Since it will
not be possible to enumerate all the speeches here it shall be pointed
to the sites of our Website (see below) were it is possible to hear
some of the conferences. Both Universities in Rome and Berlin also
hold seminars on Giustiniani themes. The Kunsthistorisches Museum
assumed with the restoration and technical investigation of the
"crowning of thorns" by Caravaggio which came from the Giustiniani
collection a part of the GIOVE-project, that will offer a further
facet of art historical research. Dr. Prohaska could prove through his
findings in the archives of the Museum the before only presumed
Giustiniani provenance of the painting and reconstruct the whole
history of its purchase for Vienna. At the Berlin GIOVE-conference
Dr. Prohaska as the curator for baroque painting and Robert Wald as
the restorer of the painting gave a first report on their research
that will be largely documented in the Website.

The Website (
The Website is the central interface for all research in the
GIOVE-project. It was realised by students of CIMDATA and is run by
Maximilian Benker together with Beate Bruentgens. The entire
information will be available only at the end of the project in March
2002, but the public can participate in the process. Some information
on the Giustiniani brothers and on their collection, based on the
publications of Prof. Danesi Squarzina have already been available
since the beginning of the project. Since 1999 we also have offered
short texts on Berlin Giustiniani paintings compiled by Iris
Wenderholm and Dr. des. Hans Ulrich Kessler (Staatliche Museen zu
Berlin). During the entire period of the project until March 2002 new
parts of the Website will be opened. It has been possible to hear
speeches of the GIOVE-conference in Berlin since July 2000. Since June
2001 (together with the opening of the Berlin Giustiniani exhibition)
we have presented a wide reconstruction of the History of the
Giustiniani collection from its arrival in Berlin to the opening of
the first Museum in 1830 and beyond by Marion Kaminski with support of
Dr. Michaelis, Dr. Vogtherr and conceived by Dr. Bienert. The design
and technical realisation was done by the IIEF and the GfaI. The
restoration contains plans, fonts, pictures and informations as well
as 3d simulations.

Until the end of the project we will work on a database that will
offer informations on all known paintings and a few non-antique
sculptures of the Giustiniani collection. The Staatliche Museen zu
Berlin with Dr. Bienert as a known specialist in databases supplies
for this purpose the Musys software was developed by the Dynix
company. It will make possible a range of data-entries that is not
often reached in the Internet. All partners contribute with their
research to this database. During the next month we will insert the
results of the exhibition catalogue which was conceived and in large
parts written by Prof. Danesi Squarzina and her group.
In addition to the common database dott.ssa Irene Baldriga and Sira
Francesca de Vanna have developed a database that will contain
information on all inventories of the Giustiniani family discovered
and analysed by the team of Prof. Danesi Squarzina. The website is
orientated towards a wide section of the public. Aranged according tho
the keywords "project", "partners", "events", "database", "places",
"materials", "exhibition", "forum" it contains general information
which, if necessary, leads to further material. A forum offers the
possibility to become involved in the Website or ask questions to
specific members of the project.

ANN: PRE: GIOVE Virtual Giustiniani Collection (engl. version). In:, Nov 15, 2001 (accessed Jun 25, 2024), <>.