Home Arts A Texan princess expelled from a Roman villa on Caravaggio’s ceiling

A Texan princess expelled from a Roman villa on Caravaggio’s ceiling

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A Texas princess has been forcibly evicted from her historic villa in Rome following a court ruling that says all abandoned items, including a treasure trove of Baroque-era paintings and classical sculptures, must be removed and destroyed.

The 16th-century Villa Ludovisi, famous for its rare Caravaggio ceiling paintings and Guercino frescoes, has been placed at the heart of a bitter legal battle between Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, the late Prince Nicolò’s second wife, and the four children of the prince from the prince’s first wife.

Trying to resolve the dispute, Italian courts first tried to auction the property in January 2022 with a starting price of 471 million euros, but found no bidders. In January this year, a judge in Rome ordered the princess to vacate the house within 60 days, saying any remaining contents would be “removed or destroyed”. The carabinieri arrived at the villa on Thursday and forced the princess to leave the property.

Carvaggio, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto (circa 1597), figure on the ceiling of the Casino Ludovisi

The decision could jeopardize dozens of works of art and hundreds of thousands of documents held at the property, said Brennan Corey, a professor of classics at Rutgers University who led a project to digitize the heritage of The villa. The arts journal. “The villa is absolutely stuffed full of valuables,” Corey says. “Rita took some of her belongings but left everything else.”

A room in the villa contains oil paintings attributed to Scipione Pulzone (1540-1598), Domenichino (1581-1641) and Ottavio Leoni (1578-1630), in addition to around 25 other oil paintings, Brennan said. Half a dozen fine reliefs dating from the Julio-Claudian era and nearly a dozen bust portraits are also on display near the entrance, he adds. Twin statues of Dacian prisoners that once decorated Trajan’s Forum now stand in the villa’s garden.

The villa also contains a 150,000-page archive dating back to the 15th century. Corey’s team has uploaded images of most of the pre-1955 documents to a digital archive, but more recent documentation, including property plans, has yet to be digitized, the professor says.

The Ludovisi Casino, also known as Villa Aurora, was valued at €471 million but was not auctioned at that price or after being heavily reduced to €377 million.

Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, one of the children of the late Prince Nicolò, reaffirmed his ownership rights to the property in numerous media comments. “Villa Ludovisi must first be closed and then renovated,” Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi told the newspaper. Il Gazzettino THURSDAY. “So it needs to be cleaned.”

How the eviction will ultimately influence the ongoing battle for ownership is unclear. “What’s the plan for the place?” Correy asked. “What is the vision for the co-heirs? Many questions need to be answered. »

Judge Miriam Iappelli accused the princess in the January eviction notice of breaching an earlier order barring her from giving tours of the property. The judge also found the princess failed to properly maintain the property after an exterior wall collapsed.

Princess Rita, who has lived in the villa for two decades, and her husband completed an 11 million euro restoration of the property in 2010. The restoration led to the discovery of the documents and the creation of the archive digital. The Princess told The Associated Press on Thursday that she had taken care of the villa.

Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi was born Rita Carpenter in San Antonio, Texas. She worked in American politics, as a model and actress, and as a real estate agent, before marrying Nicolò in 2009. She was once married to a United States senator and appeared on the cover of Playboy.

A lawyer for Princess Ludovisi, who asked not to be named, confirmed that his team had filed an appeal against the deportation in the national courts. The princess’s lawyers could lodge a new appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, he added.

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