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Conservation interns/volunteers and Villanova students were able to study the collection for the first time since the collection's arrival in the 1950's. The top image features graduate Chemistry student Kirsten Watts and project intern Allison Rabent performing non-destructive pigment analysis using X-Ray Fluorescence. The bottom image features Villanova student Alexandra Stump and Professor Timothy McCall examining a triptych.
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Date: 2014-10-15
Several paintings in the Ruspoli collection were also examined using x-radiography. The x-ray image of the Madonna (artist unknown) shown above shows that the artist made almost no changes to the composition during the painting process (the wooden plugs on the back of the painting are also visible in the x-ray image). The painting depicting a dark church interior (attributed to Peeter Neefs?) showed a hidden painting beneath the visible image. The artist cut down a larger composition and turned the canvas sideways (the image of a kneeling nun can be seen) before he began to paint the church scene on top.
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Date: 2014-10-15
Outside scholars and Villanova faculty/staff were invited to examine the collection as well as Art History Departments from nearby institutions like Dr. Marcia Hall's class from Temple University (Also pictured in the Top Image: University of Delaware Professor Brian Baade, Professor Anthony Lagalante, Professor and Dean Adele Lindenmeyr, and Professor Timothy McCall)
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Date: 2014-10-26
1861 (Eugenia's Birth) - Eugenia Ruspoli (nee Jennie Enfield Berry) is born on October 19th to Frances Rhea and Thomas Berry on the family's Turkey Town Plantation in Etowah County, Alabama.
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Date: 1861-01-01
Jennie is the oldest of eight children and is raised at the family's home in Oak Hill, GA. Her father works as a grocery wholesaler and seller of cotton before he eventually enlists in the Confederate Alabama Infantry.
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Date: 1870-01-01
She marries Irish tobacco manufacturer, Henry Bruton on May 7th in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Date: 1889-01-01
Bruton dies on December 5th of "outer colitis" in Nashville, Tennessee, leaving his entire fortune to Jennie.
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Date: 1892-01-01
At the age of 40, Jennie marries the 23-year old Italian noble Don Enrico Ruspoli on March 2nd, in Washington D.C., by Monsignor Martinelli, the Papal Delegate to the Unites States. Through marriage she becomes an Italian citizen and changes her name and title to "Princess" Eugenia Ruspoli. The couple moves to Italy and rents an apartment in Rome.<p/><a href='http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=990DEED61039E733A25750C0A9659C946097D6CF#28633639' target='_blank'>New York Times Article</a>
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Date: 1901-01-01
1902 (Eugenia Purchases Nemi Castle) - Eugenia purchases a Castle in Nemi (a town just outside of Rome) from the Orsini family with her own funds, but the title is filed under her husband's name. She and her husband help to restore the Castle and it's grounds. Eugenia continues to collect art, purchasing objects in Italy, France and other European countries.
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Date: 1902-01-01
1909 (Death of Second Husband) - She becomes a widow for a second time when Don Ruspoli dies on December 4th. She later learns that her husband left most of his property including the Castle and its contents to his family and enters a legal battle with the family in order to obtain the rights to her marital property.
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Date: 1909-01-01
1910 (Attempted Assault on Eugenia) - Eugenia is attacked by a man named Travaglini who attempted to enter her bedroom in the Castle of Nemi and assault her with a hatchet in January. Travaglini was apprehended by servants before he could harm her and then later arrested by police. The reason for the attack is unknown, but a newspaper article suggests that it is a result of the marital property battle.<br/><br/><a href="http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%209/New%20York%20NY%20Sun/New%20York%20NY%20Sun%201910%20%20Grayscale/New%20York%20NY%20Sun%201910%20%20Grayscale%20-%203435.pdf" target="_blank">Full Article</a>
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Date: 1910-01-01
1913 (Eugenia Engaged)- Eugenia becomes engaged to "poor" Prince Orsini in April.
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Date: 1913-01-01
1916 (Eugenia Wins Title to Castle)- Eugenia's legal problems with Ruspoli's will are resolved and she acquires their marital property.
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Date: 1916-01-01
1918 (Eugenia's Art Collection) - She buys the polyptych, Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni, from Marchese della Stufa of Florence, Italy. The polyptych is later sold by Eugenia's niece to the J. Getty Museum through French and Company in 1971.
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Date: 1918-01-01
1923 (Birth of Alexis Droutzkoy) - Eugenia's niece Alexis Droutzkoy (nee Maria Theresa Berry) is born in Norwich, England on June 26th.
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Date: 1923-01-01
1929 (Eugenia Adopts her Niece) - Eugenia adopts her niece Maria Theresa in Surrogate Court NYC on April 2nd.
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Date: 1929-01-01
1931 (Philanthropic Donation)- She donates Correggio's <i>Il Giorno</i> to Father Joseph Cassidy of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rome, GA. Eugenia continues to furnish the Castle at Nemi as well as her estate in Connecticut and her apartment in New York City.
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Date: 1931-01-01
1937-1939 (Eugenia Flees Before the War) - Before the outbreak of World War Two, Eugenia begins to periodically ship artworks from her collection back to the United States before she eventually returned to the U.S., avoiding the turmoil of the War. Many of these artworks ended up in New York City while others found there way to Rome, Georgia where Eugenia's family resided. A portion of her once vast collection can still be seen at Berry College's Martha Berry Museum at Oak Hill (named after Eugenia's sister). There is a curious account of a young Nazi soldier personally taking the Cortona as well as other paintings from the castle to Rome (after supposedly realizing that they were being vandalized) and anonymously depositing them at Villa Borghese where they were then taken to the Roman villa of the Ruspoli before being shipped to the United States. Further research is needed to confirm this tale.
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Date: 1937-01-01
1942 (Nazi Occupation of Nemi) - The Castle of Nemi is "requisitioned" by the Italian government and "turned over" to the German Luftwaffe.
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Date: 1942-01-01
1942 (Nazi Occupation of Nemi) - The Castle of Nemi is "requisitioned" by the Italian government and "turned over" to the German Luftwaffe.
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Date: 1942-01-01