The Artchivium project was born of the marriage between art, digitalization, study and web sharing. Its two-fold mission takes form, on the one hand, through online publication of information gathered from archive documents—both known and still-undiscovered—which are not easy to consult or find and, on the other, through actual archive study. In particular, Artchivium focuses on former fideicommissary galleries in Rome which became public museums at the end of the 1800s.

The project centers around the study and transcription of historical inventories, books and bookkeeping records of artists, as well as notarized and other types of documents in an attempt to reconstruct the history of the works of art cited and be able to ascertain their provenance, identity and location. In fact, over time, many of the works of art from the fideicommissary collections were subject to being moved and transformations of which, often, there is no trace.

Through meticulous study and comparison of archive documentation, the goal is to shed light on the original state of historical collections and this information will make it possible to create a map of how much of this enormous patrimony is still in its original locations, how much has been moved to other destinations and how much has been lost. Reconstructing the history of former fideicommissary works and tracing the vicissitudes of their collections means recovering tangible testimony about the changes in tastes, interests and critical approach within the world of Italian art and culture.

This is a multi-disciplinary task drawing on a range of sources, the results of which will be stored in a computerized databank so they can be made freely available online. Artchivium also promotes cooperation with cultural institutes, universities and research institutes, as well as individual scholars in order to provide information for a number of research projects and contribute to expanding the virtual archive.