Sèvres Porcelain at the Capitoline Museums

Colossal statue of Constantine - Musei Capitolini, Rome
The Capitoline Museums are certain to be at the top of any must-do list for visitors and tourists in Rome. Whilst I often wander up to Michaelangelo's wonderful Piazza del Campidoglio somehow several years seem to have passed since I last visited any of the palaces around the square which are home to the museums. The Musei Capitolini house the most famous Roman statues which are instantly recognisable the world over – what could be more iconic than the Colossus of Constantine in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori or the bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback? Indeed the figure of Marcus Aurelius once towered over the main square but the recently restored figure now resides in its own purpose-built wing of the palace to protect it from the elements (the statue presently in the square is a copy).

Musei Capitolini, Rome - Sèvres exhibition
One hardly needs any added incentive to visit the museums, therefore, but for the last couple of months the Musei Capitolini have – and according to their website, for the first time in their history - been displaying porcelain and designs from the National Sèvres Factory alongside exhibits from their permanent collections creating an exciting juxtaposition between striking contemporary design and ancient sculpture, in the splendid and elaborately decorated rooms of the Conservator's Apartment. I particularly enjoyed the positioning of Fabrice Hyber's dazzling green L’Homme de Bessines in the same room as the Lo Spinario, the Greco-Roman bronze sculpture of a boy with a thorn in the sole of his foot, whilst Bertrand Lavier's La Bocca at the top of the stairs to take us into the exhibition was the perfect welcome.

There is also a small separate exhibition about the National Sèvres Factory - La Conquista della Modernità - Sèvres, 1920 - 2008 - which includes a fascinating documentary about the factory, its techniques and output and has a room dedicated entirely to Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass.