Guattàni, Giuseppe Antonio

Date born: 1748

Place born: Rome, Italy

Date died: 1830

Place died: Rome, Italy

Classical art historian. Guattàni initially studied law. His acquaintance with Giovanni Piranesi (1720-1778) and Ennio Guirino Visconti (q.v.) led him to the study of ancient art. As he accompanied his wife, the famous singer Marianna Bianchi (c1735-after 1790), throughout Europe, Guattàni visited museums and art collections. He collaborated with Visconti and later Visconti's sons on their Museo Pio-Clementino. In 1784 he began publishing his Monumenti antichi, an authoritative supplement to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (q.v.). In 1804, after an extended stay in Paris, he returned to Rome at the invitation of Pope Pius VII to become perpetual secretary of the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia as well as the Accademia di San Luca. He was also the supervisor of antiquities for sculpture discovered in Rome. He served as well as the advisor to the Polish monarch Augustus III on antiquities. A scholarly description of Rome by Guattàni, the two-volume Roma descritta ed illustrate, appeared in 1805. Another art-historical volume, the result of his travels with his wife to the cultural capitals of Europe, was the 1806 as Memoire enciclopediche, an initially four-volume account of the paintings and sculpture he had seen. Guattàni envisioned this as a continuation of the Monumenti. The via Giuseppe Antonio Guattàni in Rome is named for him.

Home Country: Italy

Sources: Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 546-47; Cressedi, G. “Guattani, Giuseppe Antonio.” Enciclopedia dell’arte antica 3, p. 1067.

Bibliography: Monumenti antichi inediti, ovvero notizie sulle antichità e belle arti di Roma Rome: Nella stamperia Pagliarini, 1784-89, 1805; Roma descritta ed illustrate 2 vols. Rome: Pagliarini,1805; Memorie enciclopediche sulle antichitá e belle arti di Roma. 7 vols. Rome: Pel Salomoni, 1806-19; and Visconti, Ennio Quirino, and Visconti, Giovanni Battista, and Visconti, Filippo Aurelio. Il Museo Pio-Clementino, descritto da Giambattista Visconti. 7 vols. Rome: Luigi Mirri, 1782-1807.