Histoires de pierres’

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition


200 masterpieces by Guido Reni, Damien Hirst, as well as Rodin and Picasso

Exhibition from 13 October 2023 to 14 January 2024
Curators: Jean de Loisy & Sam Stourdzé

Companions of our daydreams, stones, older than life, have exerted on humans a fascination of which each of us shares the experience: a collection, a launch, an admiring contemplation. Poets and artists of all periods of art have testified to the profound inflections that these silent presences have had on their creations.

Follow the visit with explanations by Jean de Loisy, co-curator of the exhibition:

The great surrealist writer Roger Caillois, some remarkable examples from whose collection of minerals constitute the prologue of this exhibition, was able to describe this insistent relationship: ‘more than once, I have thought that it was appropriate to look at stones as a kind of poem.’ Accompanied by the writer’s prose, the exhibition is the novel of this continuous frequentation that reveals how these minerals occupy a decisive position between the caprice of nature and the work of art.

The Stories of stones exhibition presented at the Villa Medici has benefited from loans from more than 70 institutions and brings together nearly 200 works, from the oldest terrestrial mineral dating back 4.4 billion years to the latest mineral created, Sentimentite, by the contemporary artist Agnieszka Kurant. The route unfolds in ten exhibition rooms and continues in the ancient reservoir of the Villa Medici, in the apartments of Cardinal Ferdinand de Medici and in the Balthus workshop.

The suggestions that stones made to artists of all ages make it possible to measure how much our thought, our myths, our protests, and even sometimes our worries, have benefited from their proximity. There, dialogue gathered, beyond the contingencies of history, stones of the roadside and coveted crystals, votive stones, simple ruins or weapons of the weak to defend themselves from the powerful, objects of scientific study and romantic contemplation. And among humanity, from megalithic societies to the great names of modernity, Auguste Rodin or Giuseppe Penone, Charlotte Perriand or Antonio Tempesta, Tatiana Trouvé or the Facteur Cheval; all inspired by their sedimented mysteries, are the heralds of this vast narrative.
Period13 Oct 2023
Event typeExhibition
LocationRome, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Photography