Villa Borghese Park The Galleria Borghese is situated in a park about 2 km from the centre of the city, Rome.
The gallery is not big but housed in an opulent palaces. It is the most exclusive gallery in Rome. To see the collection, visitors have to make a reservation before hand, in one of the 2-hour slots offered by the gallery. The gallery The main entrance
The building was built for as the personal home of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, between 1613 and 1615. Scipione Borghese was also the nephew of the pope Paul V. He was also a patron of Bernini. The gallery underwent an extensive 14 years restoration in 1983 and reopened in 1997. The Building Cardinal Scipione Borghese Pope Paul V (1605-21) The Emperor Room
The building was built as a showpiece gallery of the cardinal. The gallery is known for its collection of Bernini, Raphael and Caravaggio masterpieces. The Building The Egyptian Room
Ancient Greek Sculpture Artemis. 4C BC. Original Peplofora. Early 5C BC. Possibly Greek Original
Ancient Greek Sculpture The Sleeping Hermaphrodite was a 1C Roman copy of the 150 BC original sculpture by Polycles. The first Hermaphrodite sculpture belonged to the gallery was sold to the Louvre. This current Hermaphrodite was found in 1781 and reworked by Pacetti. The Sleeping Hermaphrodite, original Greek, 150 BC.
Dancing Satyr, original Greek, 4C BC. Hercules, original Greek, 4C BC. Ancient Greek Sculpture
In 1807, many pieces of art works were sold to Napoleon and they are now exhibit as the Borghese collection in the Louvre, Paris. Ancient Roman Sculpture Satyr on a Dolphin, original Greek, 1C BC. Iris (Egyptian godess), Roman 2C.
Raffaello – woman with Unicorn Woman with a Unicorn. 1505-06. Sanzio Raffaello. Raphael probably did not finish the painting. Another artist completed the portrait by changing its pose and the size of the sleeves. He also added a small dog and the windowsill. Soon after, the dog was changed into a unicorn. In 17C the woman was changed into St Catherine with addition of her wheel. In the 1935 restoration the 17C changes were removed.
Raffaello – Deposition of Christ The Deposition of Christ. 1507. Sanzio Raffaello. The painting was cleaned in 2005 and revealed the magnificent vivid colours. The painting was painted by Raphael before he moved to Rome. It was originally placed in the church of S Francesco al Prato in Perugia.
Dosso Dossi – Melissa or Circe The painting refers to a romantic epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto. It told the story of an enchantress, Circe, who imprisoned her lovers within trees (see miniscule figures of men on the tree, top left), rocks and animals. The lady who sat in a magic circle was probably Melissa, who liberated the victims from the spell. The empty armour was a reference to the trapped knight of Astolpho. Melissa or Circe, c1530. by D. Dossi. Note the fantasy and opulent use of colours in the painting and fine landscape in the background.
Correggio - Danae Danae. 1531-32. Correggio. He was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16C.
Lotto - Portrait of a Man Portrait of a Man. 1535. Lotto. Born in Venice, his work is always crisp and clear. His works show the influence of the Venetian painters and the influence of German painters, in his landscape.
Caravaggio – Il Bacchino Malato Aeneas Flight from Troy. 1598. Barocci. Bernini must had seen this before he worked on the Aeneas and Anchises sculpture.
Caravaggio – Il Bacchino Malato Self-Portrait as the Sick Bacchus. c1593. Caravaggio Caravaggio Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi is the most important Baroque painter. His revolutionary technique used dramatic dark background, selective illuminations and strong lighting contrasts. Many painters were influenced by his styles, including Artemisia Gentileschi, Ribera, Honthorst, Georges de La Tour, Rembrandt and Velazquez.
Caravaggio – Boy with Basket of Fruit Boy with a Basket of Fruit. c1594. Caravaggio. Caravaggios style is described as chiaroscuro. The fruits in his paintings were often over- ripe and starting to decay. The leaves were wilting and colours were fading.
Caravaggio – Saint Jerome St Jerome. 1605-06. Caravaggio. This was painted at the height of his career. Note the light streams off the bald head of the saint.
Caravaggio – Madonna of the Palafrenieri Madonna of the Palafrenieri. 1605-06. Caravaggio. It is a very unusual painting of the Madonna and child. It was commissioned as an altarpiece in the St Peter Basilica. The painting shows the Virgin, with the help of her son, trampled on a snake, the source of the original sin. This is an allegory of the Catholics church (represented by the Virgin) crashing the opposition, on the dispute between the Catholics and the Protestants on the original sin. St Anne (on the right), the mother of the Virgin was given the rough treatment by Caravaggio.
Caravaggio – David with the Head of Goliath David with the Head of Goliath. 1609-10. Caravaggio. Self-portrait, the head of Caravaggio, who was wanted by the police for murder. Caravaggio is saying here is my head.
Domenichino – The Hunt of Diana The Hunt of Diana. 1616. Domenichino. The painting was forcefully bought by the Scipione Borghese from the rebellious artist Domenichino. It depicts a an archery contest, in a festive atmosphere amongst Dianas nymphs. The exquisite colour was part of the Veneto school s style.
Domenichino – The Hunt of Diana Sybil. c1616. Domenichino. A colourful and a youthful Persian Sybil, with a viola and a music book. In antiquity sybils sang their prophecies, accompanied with music. Domenichino was also an expert in music.
Bernini c1623 Bernini c1630-35 Bernini It is impossible for any tourist to visit Rome without coming across art works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He was a very successful artist in the early 17C. He was the leading sculptor, a painter, play write, a prominent architect and a stage designer. Several of his masterpieces are on display in the gallery. Below are some of his works in Rome.
Bernini – Aeneas and Anchises Aeneas fleeing from the burning city of Troy carrying his elderly father, while his son carries the sacred fire. Aeneas and Anchises. 1618-1620.
Bernini – Aeneas and Anchises Many scholars saw the influence of Berninis father on the sculpture. Some even suggested it was his fathers work.
Bernini – Rape of Proserpine Proserpine was carried by Pluto into the underworld. Rape of Proserpine. 1621-22.
Bernini – Rape of Proserpine Marble softened in the hand of Bernini.
Bernini – Apollo and Daphne Life-size marble sculpture (1622-26) by Bernini. Apollo insulted Cupid, who shot him with the gold arrow of love. Knowing Apollo was in love with Daphne, Cupid shot her with the lead arrow of hate. The sculpture showed the moment when Apollo touched her. Sensing Apollos touch and the danger she turned herself into a tree to escape from Apollo.
The Apollo and Daphne was one of the four sculptures commissioned by Cardinal Borghese. Bernini – Apollo and Daphne
Bernini – David Berninis David is very dynamic and compared well with previous well- known examples of sculpture of David. David. 1623-24. Life-size marble.
Bernini – David Note the biting lips, the hatred and other emotions on His face.
Bernini – David Bernini was very skilful in conveying movements in his David sculpture. Note the tension on his leg.
Madonna and Child. c1650. Sassoferrato. Canova - Pauline
Pauline was Napoleons sister, who married one of the Borghese Princes. Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix, 1805-1808. Antonio Canova. Canova - Pauline
By portrait Pauline in nude with an apple in her hand, Canova elevated her to be a goddess. The apple is a reference to the Judgement of Paris, about beauty. Canova - Pauline
Galleria Borghese In 1605, two months after his ascent to the papal throne, Paul V appointed his nephew Scipione Cardinal. Shortly after he gave him the vineyard outside Porta Pinciana, where Scipione fulfilled his artistic dream by building a villa. Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an enthusiastic collector of works by Caravaggio. As a result, the gallery has a very large collection of Bernini and Caravaggios masterpieces. The gallery was re-opened in 1997, after a 14 years restoration.