OK….before I start this post, let me say that I am officially tired of early century art. It is glorious, the colors are rich and the frames are magnificent, but I am REALLY ready to see some impressionistic and contemporary works!!!
BUT, Tuesday morning we had reservations to visit the Borghese Gallery which was about a 20 minute stroll from our house. We arrived early for our reservation and sat on a bench outside the gallery while David read to us about the glories that we would see. Scipione Borghese was a nephew of Pope Paul V and was a Cardinal in the church as well. He was a huge art connoisseur and amassed a large collection which is held in this particular villa…..which, by the way, he never lived in…..it just held his art.
He was also a great lover of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who was one of David’s favorite sculptors and there were many of his excellent pieces. No cameras were allowed in the gallery (they even took our bags away from us), but I will try to post photos from the web of my favorite pieces.
This is two babies milking a goat and was done when Bernini was 11 years old…..
This is “Apollo and Daphne” by Bernini. The story here is that Apollo is chasing Daphne and she calls to her father to save her from him. Magically, her hands begin to sprout leaves, her toes sprout roots and her skin is starting to turn to bark as she transforms into a tree. The really cool thing about this sculpture is the openness that you feel when looking at it. Daphne’s robe is billowing out behind Apollo and his left leg is outstretched and not attached to the base. The detail in the leaves and bark were also amazing……
Here is the view from the back…….
This is Bernini’s “David” which portrays David with a slingshot just as he is about to face Goliath. His harp is at his feet and the rope of the slingshot looks so realistic…..
This the “Rape of Proserpine” and I was amazed to see a tear on her cheek….how do they do that with marble!!!!
There were two busts of Borghese that Bernini had done. The first one developed a crack as he was finishing it so he did a second one…..in only three days!!!! We all know that the second one is always easier!!!
BUT, my favorite sculpture in this gallery was not by Bernini, but by Antonio Canova and entitled “Pauline Bonaparte as Venus”……
…and the thing that astounded me was the way that the artist captured the soft nature of the cushions, fabric and even the fringe. I am so impressed that he could make hard marble look like it was soft!!!!!
I was also very impressed with the ceilings in each room….they were designed to showcase the art and in some cases looked as if they were wall-papered. Some rooms would look as if they were looking out to the sky and surrounding castles while others looked like a heavenly garden.
One of the times, I stood at the base of a statue and was looking up at it….amazingly there were two cherubs on the ceiling, leaning over the sculpture portico and looking back at me!!!
I laughed to see the number of nose jobs that had taken place….obviously the nose was something that was easily knocked off as MANY had been restored to their original glory.
There were also several scenes made with marble insets (think applique with marble) and they were gorgeous as well. I was amazed by the different colors and textures of marble that were used.
Finally, there were a couple of paintings that had interesting stories. The first was painted by Caravaggio and was of the Madonna and Jesus stepping on the serpents head. It originally hung in St. Peter’s but was removed because Mary’s face was modeled on one of Rome’s most famous prostitutes.
….the twist here is that the girl on the left is the profane and the right is sacred. The naked woman is the sacred representation as she is free, open and ready to worship God. She holds the eternal holy flame and a chapel is seen in the background behind her. On the other hand, the Profane representation is clutching a pot full of money and riches and her fortified castle can be seen in the distance. She is obviously placing her hope in the things of this world!!
We all relaxed some in the afternoon and Lyn offered to cook dinner for us….our taste buds will never be the same again!!!! She made a wonderful meal, consisting of Caprese salad (mozarella, tomatoes & basil), Risotto with pesto sauce and red bell peppers and thin sliced veal steaks sautéed with sliced zucchini. We have definitely been spoiled!!!!!