PAOLETTI COLLECTION – FORTY THREE INTAGLIO CASTS
~ “MUSEO VATICANO” – GRAND TOUR SOUVENIRS – c. 1790-1800 ~
Made in Rome by Bartolomeo Paoletti (1758-1834), at his Studio in Piazza di Spagna N.49
Late 18th century plaster intaglios – reference objects and souvenirs of the Grand Tour.
This group of 43 casts is from the Paoletti “Museo Vaticano” series - casts from original seals of Antiquity and the Renaissance residing in the treasures of the Vatican Museum.
The 43 intaglios are surrounded by original gilt paper collars and are in the “book” box with two compartments and lids with manuscript descriptions that originally held 49 casts.
The “book” spine is gilt stamped with “PAOLETTI” and “MUSEO VATICANO”.
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip around Europe, often lasting three to four years, undertaken by the wealthy upper-class English starting during the 16th and 17th century. Their prime interest was to visit cities considered major centers of culture; Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples were popular destinations.
During the 18th & 19th century, as the opportunity to take the “Grand Tour” spread from the aristocracy to the new industrial & professional elites, tourist destinations such as Rome shifted their attention from the privileged class to meeting the travel needs of the moneyed middle-class, including a healthy souvenir trade.
In addition to albums of engraved views, the Grand Tour offered another very popular type of travel souvenir: casts of engraved gems and cameos. Taste for these engraved antique gems was revived as part of the classical revival and reproduced as plaster casts. Mounted in boxes or faux book bindings, these plaster impressions provided a minutely detailed cabinet of neoclassical and Renaissance knowledge and art.
Bartoleomeo Paoletti (1758-1834) was the most successful and well-known of the Roman purveyors of intaglio casts. He was succeeded by his son, Pietro Paoletti (1801-1847) who continued the workshop till his death.
Size of Book housing casts: 9 1/2'' x 6'' and 1 3/4'' thick.