Franz von Koller and the enigma of the bronze tripod from the Real Museo Borbonico in Naples

Variant title
František Koller a záhada bronzové trojnožky z Real Museo Borbonico v Neapoli
Contributor
Jaegerová, Anna (Translator)
Source document: Opuscula historiae artium. 2019, vol. 68, iss. 1, pp. 2-21
Extent
2-21
  • ISSN
    1211-7390 (print)
    2336-4467 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Rights access
embargoed access
Abstract(s)
Baron Franz von Koller (1767–1826) served as a general intendant in Naples between 1815 and 1826, where he oversaw the restoration of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the return of the Bourbons to the throne. During these years, this educated diplomat also became an accomplished collector of antiquities and an amateur archeologist. Contemporary sources describe Koller's civil behaviour in creating his art collection, which was not always common in this golden age of collecting. His diligence in adhering to official protocols and royal decrees, whether they concerned archaeological excavation or the trade of antiquities, is attested by the newly discovered correspondence containing Koller's request to create a copy of a bronze tripod which is exhibited in the royal museum in Naples. Although he did not obtain the permission, we can actually find two different copies of bronze tripods "created after the original from the Real Museo Borbonico" in the inventory of his collection. Koller's desire to own the most accurate copy of the exhibited piece, even though both inexpensive and luxurious copies of these tripods have already appeared on the Italian market, proves that it was not supposed to be a mere showpiece meant to illustrate an atmosphere, but a serious collectible original. The untimely death of Baron Koller prevented his plan to transfer the collection in its entirety to Bohemia and present it to the public at the castle in Obříství. The collection's character, order, and its overall diversity are clearly the answer to the question of why it was gradually breaking up after Koller's death until it completely fell apart. His enlightened idea about the necessity to cultivate the modern state's society was, in fact, clashing with the still traditional encyclopaedic way of presenting discoveries, which did not comply with the new collecting and exhibiting concepts of the newly emerging museum institutions at the time.
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