Philippe Costamagna is a respected art historian of substantial accomplishments. Since 2001 he has served as the Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Ajaccio, Corsica, that remarkable repository of what remains from Cardinal Joseph Fesch’s original collection of more than sixteen thousand paintings and works of art. The prelate enjoyed the distinct benefits of being Napoleon Bonaparte’s uncle and may have been one of history’s most acquisitive—if perhaps not one of its most fastidious—collectors. Though much of the collection was dispersed at the end of the Empire, a core group of almost one thousand works is still in Corsica, divided between the Ajaccio museum and other minor local institutions. Costamagna has carefully culled and catalogued these holdings, illuminating—among others—several surprising items such as a key work by the exceedingly rare Ferrarese artist...

 

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