Day 95, Friday December 8, 2017
On our way to the Borghese Gallery today we see a truck double parked on a busy street. This is not unusual in Rome, but what caught my attention is that he was selling flowers from the back of his truck, and had no intention of moving any time soon.The Borghese Gallery was built in the early 1600’s.This informative five-minute video gives a bit of the history of the Villa and the artists as well as a tour through the gallery. We are very lucky there is a special Gian Lorenzo Bernini exhibit here in addition to all the other artwork usually on display. This 25th century silverpoint portrait was exquisite.The gallery is as interesting as the artwork it contains. All the doors are decorated.A familiar sculpture. We have seen copies of ‘the Boy with the Thorn’ in Paris and Florence. The Rape of Persephone (also known as The Rape of Proserpina) is amazing. I know this is carved from marble but Hades hand gripping Persephone’s leg looks like human flesh, it is so life-like. Oh, and in this context rape meant kidnapping. Oh and Bernini was 23 years old when he completed this masterpiece!The Villa is a piece of art in itself. Here are some of the rooms where the artwork is displayed. Now just imagine living in such a place!
Wood, slate, terracotta and plaster were used for this model of Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain that we took pictures of in Piazza Navona.
Bernini was only 20 when he carved this sculpture of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius, which shows Aeneas carrying his elderly father and son from a burning Troy.
This Caravaggio painting, the Madonna of Palafrenieri was thought to be indecent when it was revealed and was removed from St. Peter’s Cathedral after only two days and was purchased by Cardinal Borghese.A famous Bernini sculpture, the Damned Soul.
This sculpture of Paolina Bonaparte, as the Venus Victorious, by Antonio Canova was completed in 1808 after she married into the Borghese family. The drapery is all carved in stone but it looks like real cloth.
Bernini’s very determined David is magnificent.A quick peek at the gardens from one of the gallery windows.This fellow made me think of the winter weather we will be returning home to in a few days.
Apollo and Daphne is a Bernini sculpture that tells the story of Daphne being turned into a laurel tree to escape from Apollo. The details of her legs turning to bark and her fingers growing branches and leaves is remarkable.This Bernini painting was intriguing as there are visible traces of where Bernini painted a different hand. This is known as pentimento. On the ride home we see one more obelisk and another column. I think we might have managed to see most of the obelisks and columns in Rome. We also saw another stretch of the old Roman Aurelian Wall that protected Rome. These walls were 52 feet tall, 11 feet thick and had a square tower every 97 feet, which was 100 Roman feet. They are remarkably well preserved.