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Bowl in Oriental Granite

roman school

Characterised by a simple and essential design, this oriental granite bowl rests upon a moulded foot. It was first mentioned in connection with the family collection in Villa Pinciana in 1796. Yet we do not possess documentation which establishes either the date of its execution or the name of the sculptor. One possibility is that it was created in the context of the restoration project of the building ordered by Marcantonio IV and carried out by Antonio Asprucci beginning in 1775.

Object details

Last quarter of 18th century
oriental granite
altezza cm 20, diametro cm 37

Documented in Villa Pinciana from 1796 (L. Lamberti, E.Q. Visconti, Sculture del palazzo della Villa Borghese detta Pinciana, Rome, 1796, I, p. 34); Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese, 1833, C, p. 48, no. 97; purchased by Italian state, 1902.


This shallow bowl rests upon a moulded foot composed of a low square plinth, a reversed echinus, a fillet and a scotia. The everted edge terminates in a fillet, while a groove runs along its interior.

The object was documented in 1796 as occupying a pietra dura table together with its pendant, the patera-shaped bowl in coral breccia (inv. no. CCX; Lamberti, Visconti, I, p. 34). Since 1893, it has been displayed in the Egyptian Room (Venturi, p. 44).

The object was most likely executed in the context of the renovation of Villa Pinciana ordered by Marcantonio IV Borghese and carried out by Antonio Asprucci in the last quarter of the 18th century. The artist must have been one of the numerous sculptors and carvers specialised in working precious marbles who were involved in the project during that period.

Sonja Felici