DICTIONARY OF ART HISTORIANS
A Biographical Dictionary of Historic Scholars, Museum Professionals and Academic Historians of Art
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January 1, 1593
January 1, 1970
Rome (?) Italy
Numismatist and gem scholar. Agostini worked during the reign of Pope Urban VIII as the antiquarian to the Barberini family. His letters, written to the family while in exile (1646-50) today form a trove of information on the archaeological activity of the time. After the return of the Barberini, Agostini continued to collect for them, arranging their collection into one of the most comprehensible schemas of the time. He was appointed commissioner of collections under Pope Alexander VII, directing the excavations of the Roman Forum and baths near San Lorenzo in Panisperna. His writing on carved gems, Le Gemme antiche figurate (1657) was issued with the assistance of Giovanni Bellori (q.v.). The work organized gems according to theme, identifying them by subject matter. Adolf Furtwängler (q.v.) cited him in his Die Antike Gemmen of 1900.
Sources: "Agostini, Leonardo." Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 10-11.
Bibliography: Le gemme antiche figurate. Rome: Apresso dell autore, [part I,] 1657, [part II] 1669; Gemmae et sculpturae antiquae depictae. Amsterdam: Apud Abrahamum Blooteling, 1685.