Bartolomeo Cavaceppi

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Portrait of Bartolomeo Cavaceppi by Anton von Maron , around 1794.

Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (* between 1715 and 1717 in Rome ; † December 9, 1799 there ) was an Italian sculptor and restorer . He is considered the most important restorer of ancient sculptures of his time. Many of the works he restored are shown in international collections to this day.

Apollo Kitharoidos , acquired by Friedrich II from Cavaceppi in 1766, supplemented Roman statue from the 2nd century, today in the Berlin Collection of Antiquities .


Ganymede , Roman statue from the 2nd century supplemented by Cavaceppi, now in the Museo Chiaramonti .

Bartolomeo Cavaceppi was the son of Gaetano Cavaceppi and Petronilla Rotti. He was trained as a sculptor in several workshops in Rome. In 1732 he won the annual competition of the Accademia di San Luca in the sculpture class. For the competition he copied a work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini . He worked in the workshop of Pierre-Étienne Monnot , whom he referred to as his maestro . He learned the basics of restoration in the workshop of Carlon Antonio Napolionis , who restored ancient statues for the Capitoline Museums , among other things . In 1738 he won second place in the competition of the Accademia di San Luca with his own creation. After Napolioni died, Cavaceppi first worked in the workshop of Napolioni's heir Clemens Bianchi . This restored among other statues for Alessandro Albani , of his most important patron was, and Benedict XIV. Cavaceppi was considered a chief restorer of the Papal States . In 1755 he set up his own workshop in Via Margutta and got married. In the competition to fill the last free niche in St. Peter's Basilica with a sculpture of Saint Norbert, he was defeated, despite the protection of Cardinal Albani Pietro Bracci . A study trip took him to Germany in 1768 together with Johann Joachim Winckelmann . While Cavaceppi traveled on, Winckelmann returned to Italy in Vienna. Cavaceppi traveled to the courts in Munich, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Anhalt-Dessau, Potsdam, Kassel and Braunschweig. He carried a catalog of statues he had restored with him, which served as a sales catalog. Not only did he sell works, but he also received orders to create sculptures. He created busts of Friedrich II. , Karl I. von Braunschweig and Luise von Brandenburg-Schwedt as well as various works on mythological and literary subjects. In the second volume of his catalog he describes his trip to Germany. Cavaceppi's pupils probably included Joseph Nollekens , Carlo Albacini and Vincenzo Pacetti . Pacetti also managed Cavaceppi's estate. Over a thousand antique pieces from it were sold to Giovanni Torlonia .

Bust of Agostino Paradisis ascribed to Cavaceppi , around 1780, now in a private collection.

Cavaceppi is considered to be the most successful and technically authoritative restorer of the second half of the 18th century. Its importance is based less on its own works than on its restorations. He often joined parts of different statues that did not belong together and thus achieved a satisfactory overall picture. With his additions, for which Johann Joachim Winckelmann advised him, he had a decisive influence on the effect of ancient statues on the viewer for a long time. Thanks to the connections to Winckelmann, Cavaceppi's restorations were state of the art. In the course of his career, several thousand statues, portrait busts and heads went through his workshop. With a large stock of spare parts, but also modern additions, he determined the determination of many torsos by the added attributes. In addition, he also responded to the wishes of his buyers in his additions. For this he created a three-volume sales catalog with 196 works between 1768 and 1772, in which the buyers of the works were listed. In the introductions to the first and third volumes, he described the principles and techniques of his restoration work. He made a very large part of his sales to England. For a long time the collections of the English aristocracy consisted primarily of Cavaceppi's works, and to a large extent they still consist of them today. But also to Germany, for example to Friedrich II., Wilhelmine von Bayreuth , Friedrich Franz Leopold III. von Anhalt-Dessau and Johann Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn and to Sweden to Gustav III. he sold pieces. In Rome, Gavin Hamilton and Thomas Jenkins also included the British among his most important customers. His workshop was a meeting point for European travelers on their Grand Tour , and Johann Wolfgang Goethe also describes a visit to his Italian trip . He sold a reduced copy of the Trajan Column made in 1770 to Henry Blundell .

Cavaceppi was a member of the Society of Antiquaries and, since 1782, of the Accademia di San Luca . In 1770 he was awarded the Order of the Golden Spur by Clemens XIV , with which he could call himself Cavaliere Cavaceppi .


  • Raccolta d'antiche statue, buste bassirilievi ed altre sculture restaurate. 3 volumes, Rome 1768–1772 ( Vol. 1 , Vol. 2 , Vol. 3 ).


  • Seymour Howard:  Cavaceppi, Bartolomeo. In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 22:  Castelvetro – Cavallotti. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1979, pp. 549-551.
  • Seymour Howard: Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. Eighteenth-Century Restorer. Garland, New York / London 1982, ISBN 0-8240-3935-1 .
  • Carlos A. Picón: Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. Eighteenth-century restorations of ancient marble sculpture from English private collections. A loan exhibition at the Clarendon Gallery London, 23rd Nov. to 22nd Dec. 1983. London 1983.
  • Maria Giulia Barberini, Carlo Gasparri (Eds.): Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. Scultore romano, 1717-1799. Roma, Museo del Palazzo di Venezia, 25 gennaio – 15 March 1994. Palombi, Rome 1994.
  • Dagmar Grassinger : Cavaceppi, Bartolomeo. In: Peter Kuhlmann , Helmuth Schneider (Hrsg.): History of the ancient sciences. Biographical Lexicon (= The New Pauly . Supplements. Volume 6). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02033-8 , Sp. 204-206.

Web links

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