2 p.l., 127 pp. 12mo (153 x 100 mm.), cont. pink paste-paper boards, green morocco lettering-piece on spine. Paris: L’Imprimerie des Sciences et Arts, n.d. [but ca. 1802].
The catalogue for a controversial exhibition of antiquities confiscated from Italy. According to the bibliographical research of Jean Joseph Marquet de Vasselot (see below), and Etienne Michon in his “Bibliographie des Catalogues du Musée des Antiques du Louvre” (1914-15), the present livret is a later printing of a catalogue first issued in 1800 at the time of the exhibition’s opening. The present book, like all five preceding printings, is strangely numbered starting with no. 50. This printing contains a second supplement, adding four more entries than the previous livret, published in February 1801.
The present volume describes objects seized from Italy after the ratification of the Treaty of Tolentino, which legalized French requisitions of artworks in the Vatican and other Italian institutions. Arranged by room, the catalogue is extensively detailed with scholarly entries. Inscriptions and captions found on the objects are frequently reproduced in the text. The French also strove to indicate the provenance of objects taken from Italy, which proved invaluable for their eventual restitution.
First and last few leaves browned. Title trimmed at head, barely touching the top line of text. From the library of Auguste Gaspard Louis Desnoyers (1779-1857), one of the great engravers of his time and premier Graveur du Roi (see Lugt Marques, 101 & 102). Slip with instructions for binder bound-in before the half-title.
“The Louvre changed drastically after 1800: it incorporated antiquities, it became the centre of a network of museums; its purpose shifted toward the display of a fine selection rather than exhaustive compendium of objects; and the Napoleonic Louvre resumed traditional museum rationales of advancing art, knowledge, and dynastic glory in place of the revolutionaries’ ideal of public access. Such was its transformation that the leading critic [Quatremère de Quincy] of the original plans to displace ‘monuments of art and science’ from Rome now lauded the fact that ‘Rome is no longer in Rome: it is all where I am.’”–D. Gilks, “Attitudes to the Displacement of Cultural Property in the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon,” The Historical Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1 (March 2013), pp. 130-31.
❧ Marquet de Vasselot, Répertoire des catalogues du Musée du Louvre (1793-1926) (1927), 6 (see no. 1 for explanation of the editions). Michon’s “Bibliographie des Catalogues…” was first published in Le Bibliographe Moderne, 1914-15. There is also an off-print of this important bibliographical work.
Item ID: 6780