By kjfitz @ 2006-12-23 12:05:27
Alessandro Albani (October 15, 1692 – December 11, 1779) was an Italian aristocrat and cardinal, and a collector and patron of the arts.
He is famous as the commissioner of the Villa Albani in Rome, to house his collection of antiquities and Roman sculpture, which soon filled the casino that faced the Villa down a series of formal parterres. Albani's life-long friend Carlo Marchionni was the architect in charge. The Albani antiquities were catalogued by the Cardinal's secretary, the first professional art historian, Johann Joachim Winckelmann. Turns of events after the Napoleonic upheavals forced the Albani heirs to sell the villa to the Chigi, who eventually sold it to the Torlonia, the richest Roman bankers of the 19th century, to whom the villa still belongs. Cardinal Albani's coins and medals went to the Vatican Library, over which he presided from 1761. The sarcophagi, columns and sculptures have been dispersed, but the famous bas-relief of Antinous remains in the Villa.
Cardinal Albani had another villa with a large park at Anzio, habitable for a few weeks only in spring because of malaria. Excavations in the park brought to light many Roman sculptures. Here J. J. Winckelmann was housed.
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