«To finish up with his Collection he (Vallisneri Senior) added to his Museum many precious antiquities besides natural items»

The part dedicated to the “antiquities” in the catalogue of the “Museum” begins with these words. The document was included in the first of the three volumes of “Opere fisico-mediche…” (Coletti, Venice 1733) edited by his son Antonio Vallisneri junior and is one of the most important sources for the knowledge of his Collection, also known as “Museo Vallisneriano”.

The selection of “antiquaria” reported here reflects the way Vallisneri looked at the past as scientist and friend of intellectuals and collectors of that time such as Apolostolo Zeno, Bernardo and Francesco Trevisan, Scipione Maffei.

It was supposed that Vallisneri collected antiquities and art objects being interested in the artistic production of the past (especially the sculpture). Anyway he could also have been attracted by some well-known items like the “Idol of the Sun” (see in the catalogue “Idol"), or the two statues of “Vestales” (see “Statue of Athena”). Finally he probably wanted to imitate the original display of the Mantova Benavides collection, founded in the sixteenth century in Padua, from which he acquired the most part of his antiquities and also the Renaissance bookcase (the so called Venetian “scanzia”, see “bookcase with open shelves”) still preserved in the Museum of Archaeological Sciences and Art.