Theses Doctoral

Queen Christina of Sweden´s Musaeum: Collecting and Display in the Palazzo Riario

Sjovoll, Therese

Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689)--one of the most celebrated, if controversial, converts of all times--settled in the papal city after her abdication in 1654. Her palace--the Palazzo Riario (today Corsini)--became one of Rome's leading cultural institutions: a site where learned, artistic, and elite culture converged. This study examines Christina's practice of collecting, and argues that her ambition was to create a center for learning and the arts in the Palazzo Riario modeled on the ancient Musaeum of Alexandria.

While Christina's importance as a patron of art and learning has long been recognized, this dissertation offers the first comprehensive discussion of Christina's practice of collecting, and the architecture and ambience of her Roman palace. Based on both published and unpublished architectural drawings, inventories, household accounts, and contemporary travel descriptions, this dissertation establishes the contents and the display of Christina's collection, and the architectural plan of the Palazzo Riario. This study examines the intersection between objects and their display, issues of etiquette and decorum, and the social use of architecture in seventeenth-century Rome. It aims to contribute to the history of collecting and early museums, and to the broader field of seventeenth-century culture.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Sjovoll_columbia_0054D_12460.pdf Sjovoll_columbia_0054D_12460.pdf application/pdf 2.49 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Freedberg, David A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 6, 2015