Major retrospective brings Balthus back to Rome

Balthus is the subject of a major retrospective opening this weekend in Rome, two years after a similar exhibition in New York sparked controversy over the French painter’s erotically-charged depictions of barely pubescent girls. Balthus, born Balthazar Klossowski de Rola to a France-based Polish father and Russian mother, was director of the French Academy in Rome from 1961-77 and was largely responsible for the restoration and reorganisation of its home, the Villa Medici. The main collection is being shown at the Scuderie del Quirinale, the former stables of the papal palace that is now the official residence of Italy’s president.

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