“Herculaneum’s antiquities on display” by will of the King of Spain
The engravings in “Le antichità di Ercolano esposte” (“Herculaneum’s Antiquities on Display”) were curated between 1757 and 1787 by a group of historians, archaeologists, and art experts: the Accademia Ercolanense, an illustrious scientific committee founded in 1755 by Charles III of Bourbon, King of Spain and Naples.
The Spanish ruler had been inspired by the gradual progress of the excavations that were bringing back to light the city of Herculaneum in those years. Having a passion for ancient culture and history, and hoping for the positive impact his engagement would have on his public image, he strongly supported Herculaneum’s archaeological endeavors as well as research in nearby Pompeii.
The tables collected in the eight volumes that make up “Antichità di Ercolano esposte” illustrate those years’ findings, with drawings and engravings by a group of artists who worked in Portici, including Filippo Morghen, Nicola Billy, Nicola Vanni, Francesco La Vega, Giovanni Morghen, Pierre Gaultier, Francesco Cepparoli, Pietro Campana, and Camillo Paderni.
Here is a selection we hope you enjoy.