Galleria Borghese

The enchanting location of the Galleria Borghese, located in one of Rome’s most beautiful parks outside the city gate, makes the visit to the villa just as interesting as its art collection inside. It was founded at the beginning of the 17th century by Scipione Borghese, a nephew of Pope Paul V. In addition to works from the previous centuries, the cardinal’s interest was mainly focused on paintings and sculptures of his contemporaries, which soon became him the most important patron of Bernini and Caravaggio made. His collection included, for example, Bernini’s major sculpture groups Aeneas and Anchises, Apollo and Daphne and the robbery of Prosperpina and Caravaggio’s Self-Portrait as Bacchus (c.1593), boy with the fruit basket (circa 1594), Madonna dei Palafrenieri (1605) and David with the head of Goliath (1609-1610). The great understanding of art Scipione Borgheses led to the emergence of one of the most important collections of the 17th century. In 1807, Camillo Borghese was forced to sell a large part of the collection of statues that still make up the Borghese fund of the Louvre to Napoleon Bonaparte. To compensate, he received the Danae Correggios, one of the great masterpieces of 17th-century Emilian painting. In 1803, Camillo Borghese married one of Napoleon’s sisters, Paolina Bonaparte, whose impressive full-body portrait of Canova is still one of the highlights of the collection. At the end of the 19th century, the collection was sold to the Italian state, while in the following years the park was awarded to the city of Rome. Also in the collection: the famous burial of Raphael, the heavenly and earthly love of Titian, works by Lucas Cranach, Bronzino, Lorenzo Lotto, Dosso Dossi, Rubens, Barocci, Domenichino, Lanfranco, etc.

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