The Borghese Gallery Of Rome

14 Most Famous & Important Artworks

Entrance Hall & Marcus Curtius Leaping Into Chasm

This is a beautiful welcome area of the palace. You can find ancient Roman mosaics roped off on the floors. The mosaics were believed to have come from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.

You’ll also see an amazing rococo style vaulted ceiling, featured above, depicting different pagan scenes. If you stand with your back to the door and look up to where the wall meets the ceiling, you’ll see a wonderful relief sculpture by Pietro Bernini, father of the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Boy With A Basket Of Fruit By Caravaggio

This 1593 oil on canvas was done by Caravaggio aka Michelangelo Merisi at 22 years old. He was living in Milan at the time where he was from.

The work now lives in Room VII of the Borghese Gallery for your viewing pleasure.

Caravaggio utilized an art form known as chiaroscuro which means simply “light-dark”.

He uses shadows to accentuate the details for his subject.

An art form that started around the time of Raphael’s Transfiguration in 1520 but was not popularized until the Baroque period with Caravaggio and Rembrandt being champions of chiaroscuro.

St. Jerome By Caravaggio (Room VIII)

St Jerome is a wonderful painting that shows one of the most important events in Christian history; the translation of the Bible into Latin from Greek.

Many take for granted how difficult it was to spread knowledge for so long. Google, scarily enough, does everything for us.

If you were a Christian living in Rome in the 4th century and didn’t speak Greek you really weren’t much of a Christian until St. Jerome.

David With The Head Of Goliath

David is a heavily portrayed figure due to his importance in biblical history.

This particular version by Caravaggio shows David beheading Goliath as he looks down in triumph.

Caravaggio painted his own likeness as the head of Goliath which was a seed to many theories to the meaning behind this work.

Many of Caravaggio’s paintings are extremely sexual in nature and this one is no exception.

Notice the placement of the boy’s sword in his crotch. Some believe the boy is the likeness of “Cecco” who was a studio assistant and possibly a lover of Caravaggio.

Aeneas, Anchises & Ascanius By Bernini

Completed in 1619, Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius is one of the lesser spoken about Bernini sculptures. It is a beautiful portrayal of Aeneas’ flight from Rome, as described in the Aeneid after Troy was sacked by the Greeks.

Aeneas leaves with his father on his shoulder, Anchises and son Ascanius in tow. They would leave Troy and land in Italy where later their lineage, Romulus, would come to found the city and people of Rome. His father carries a pot with the ashes of ancestors and two Roman household gods.

As you can see, in the 17th century the people of Rome were obsessed and defined by their linage as Romans. Who wouldn’t be?

Apollo & Daphne By Bernini

The statue is an incredible work of art for more reasons simply good old fashioned sculpting which is an understatement. It tells a detailed story as you walk around it. Something you have to see for yourself in person.

Legend has it that Apollo was walking through the woods and encountered Daphne and Eros who many of us know as cupid. He began to mock and make fun of cupid, I imagine for his size, and eventually, cupid became frustrated and retaliated.

David By Bernini

The story of David is among the most portrayed stories in art. Why? This is where it all began for religion. It is also a great story of victory over insurmountable odds.

Creating a David scene after Michelangelo creates DAVID is very difficult. Michelangelo did David after victory. Relaxed and confident. Bernini decided to do David before the fight.

The Deposition By Raphael

The Deposition (of Christ) was completed in 1507 on wooden panels by Raphael for Atlanta Baglione after the death of her son.

The painting shows Jesus being carried by figures, one of which is the likeliness of Grifonetto Baglione, away to his tomb.

Lady With Unicorn By Raphael

Painted in 1506, the Borghese family acquired this work only in 1760 even though they didn’t know it was a Raffaello’s painting at the time. This work was attributed to the artist only during the 19th century when its restoration took place.

Nobody really knows who the mysterious lady could be and yet today, her identity is still unknown. This woman is portrayed while she’s directly looking at the observer, holding a unicorn in her hands; a sign of virginity.

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