The Chiaramonti Museum in Rome was founded by, and named after Pope Pius VII. It is a part of the Vatican Museums and was organized by the sculptor Antonio Canova. The collection of the Museo Chiaramonti consists mainly of Roman statues, busts and all kinds of architectural elements.
Chiaramonti Museum Vatican Rome
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History and description
Pope Pius VII, who held the office from 1800 to 1823, was a member of the Chiaramonti family, hence the name. Antonio Canova was one of the most famous neoclassical sculptors. He set up the museum in 1807. Many of his own works can be seen in the Galleria Borghese.
The Chiaramonti Museum consists of three galleries, the first one simply called Galleria Chiaramonti. This part of the collection includes sculptures portraying emperors and gods, plus fragments of friezes, reliefs and sarcophagi. The highlight is a 1st century AD funerary monument of a miller, found in Ostia.
The second gallery is the so-called Braccio Nuovo “New Arm”. This wing was added by Raffaele Stern and inaugurated in 1822. In this part of the museum you can see famous Roman (and Roman copies of Greek) sculptures, such as the “Augustus of Prima Porta”. Roman mosaics adorn the floors of this building.
Other highlights in the Braccio Nuovo are two gilded bronze peacocks that might have decorated the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Copies of the peacocks have been placed in the Cortile della Pigna.
Here you can also see a statue depicting the Nile, a Roman copy of a 1st century AD Greek sculpture. It was taken from a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which was located near the Pantheon.
There is also a copy of a 5th century BC sculpture by the Greek artist Policleto. The sculpture is thought to depict Achilles with a lance. There a many copies of this work. A more famous one can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Naples.
The last section is the Galleria Lapidaria. This part of the collection contains sculpted objects, such as slabs, bases, milestones, urns, altars and sarcophagi. Unfortunately, it is only visitable on request.