Kurkmaquette Pantheon

Cork Maquette Panteon

Antonio Chichi
Dominique Provost

About this artwork

This model in cork is a reduced replica of the Panteon in Rome. Thanks to the inscription (above the right half of the portal) "ANTONIUS CHICHI ROMANUS FECIT", we can accredit it to the 18th century Italian Antonio Chichi (17431816), who made a large number of cork models of classical Roman buildings. Antonio Chichi had a repertoire of 36 different models, which he made to order as a series or separately. Three other versions of the Pantheon have survived (in Kassel, Darmstadt and St. Petersburg). Because part of the museum archives was destroyed in the First World War, it is unclear how this model acquired the UGent collection. Presumably the piece has been present in the Ghent collection since the 19th century. A possible link is Willem I, who in 1822 established a number of important archaeological works between the University of Leiden and the recently founded University of Ghent. The original Pantheon is one of the most rebuilt constructions of all time. The temple was built around 2725BC under consul Marcus Agrippa. It was replaced twice: the first time under Emperor Domitian (8196 AD), after a fire, the second time by Emperor Hadrian (118128 AD), after a severe thunderstorm. Then the building underwent many adjustments. The most important thing is that in 608609AD, when the 'temple for all gods' was converted to the church Sancta Maria ad Martyres, which has been preserved in a good condition by this transformation into a building for Christian services. The appearance of the model is not in accordance with the state of the Panteon during the life of Antonio Chichi. There is a striking similarity between this model and a proposal for an ideal construction by A. Leclère in 1813. If Chichi was inspired by this proposition, this means that the Ghent model was one of his last works. Secondary adjustments to the model were found, such as the hinge joints between the two parts and the postures in the niches of the interior that have now disappeared.

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