Madrid – Corona y arqueología at the Palacio Real, until 11 July 2010

We have never heard that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette financed archaeological diggings. Their taste for playing shepherdess and actor undoubtedly took up all their time. Now, on the other side of the Pyrenees, and at the same period, their cousins showed a particular taste for studying the past. Felipe V (1700-1746) took a fundamental initiative by founding the Real Academia de la Historia while Carlos III (1755-1788) was nicknamed the «Bourbon archaeologist»: the discoveries of Pompey and Herculanum took place under his reign, when he was still king of Naples. The exhibition shows through 150 objects from the national collections – including a bust of Trajan unveiled at Italica, a Roman site near Seville, wise studies or antique porcelains – that while this passion for archaeology was de to a personal taste, it served in particular the interest of the State by vindicating an «Imperial» way of thinking.

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