Artist: Giovanni Franceso Venturini (Italian, active ca. 16501700)
Rome: Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi, 1691
Etching; Overall: 11 x 15 7/8 x 1 5/16 in. (27.9 x 40.4 x 3.4 cm)
Gift of D. W. Langton, transferred from the Library (1991.1073.145.9)
The various Roman villas of the important papal families, including the Villa Borghese, Villa Medici, and Villa Doria Pamphilj, were filled with an impressive array of antique artifacts and statues, both originals and copies after the antique. Venturini's print of the rear facade of the Villa Medici, remodeled in 157686 by Bartolomeo Ammanati, illustrates how loggia and garden are used as an open-air museum. Fully decorated with antique plaques, statues, and fountains, it included the classical-inspired fountain with Giambologna's elegant statue of Mercury (1564), a copy of which still graces the loggia today. These sculptures formed part of a group of no less than 170 pieces acquired in the late sixteenth century by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici from various notable Roman collectors. It included the impressive two Medici lions, shown here behind the statues of Silenus with the infant Bacchus and the Venus de' Medici, today displayed respectively in the Loggia dei Lanzi and the Tribuna of the Uffizi in Florence.