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You are in: Home » Culture and leisure » Cultural heritage » Architectural and historical heritage » Statue Parlanti - Marforio
Typology: Statues


Address: Piazza del Campidoglio
Zone: Rione Campitelli (Foro Romano- Campidoglio-P.Venezia) (Roma centro)
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The statue of Marforio is in the courtyard of Palazzo Nuovo, up against a wall adjoining the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. It had been found in the 16th century in the Roman Forum, near the Arch of Septimius Severus. The huge statue represents a reclining male deity with a long beard and wearing a cloak covering one shoulder, the left arm and legs. The left hand, added later, is holding a shell. Below the figure there is a sea monster with water pouring from its mouth and into the basin in front. The figure, dating back to the 1st century AD, is thought to be the personification of Ocean or a river, perhaps the river Nera, and was perhaps part of an ancient fountain. Its name recalls the fact that it was found near theTemple of Mars in the Forum (Martis Foro) or because it was found next to a large granite basin– now part of the fountain of the Dioscuri in Piazza del Quirinale – that bore the inscription “Mare in Foro”. According to others, the statue’s popular name derives from the Marfoli or Marfuoli family, who owned property near the Mamertine Prison, in the area where the statue was found. In 1588 the statue was moved to Piazza San Marco, on the orders of Pope Sixtus V, but a little later moved again to the Capitol. Here it was placed in a fountain designed by Giacomo della Porta (1594) in order to complete the square towards the Church of Ara Coeli. The fountain also contained the colossal head of Constantine, now housed in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, and the large bronze sphere of the Vatican obelisk. After the Palazzo Nuovo was built by Pope Innocent X (1644-1655), the fountain was dismantled and placed in the courtyard of the new building. A new fountain with the statue of Marforio was designed in 1734, on the drawings of Filippo Barigioni, to be placedagainst the rear wall of the Palazzo Nuovo courtyard, with the addition of a commemorative inscribed tablet and bust of Pope Clement XII (1730-1740). Marforio is remembered as being one of Rome’s talking statues on which the populace used to hang anonymous placards containing verses criticising the papal authorities and noble families of the day. The talking statues were often made to converse with one other, and Marforio often had satirical exchanges with the most famous talking statue – Pasquino.


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Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage
Last checked: 2014-03-27 9:57