Friday, April 16, 2010

Borghese Gallery

A wander (def: to go by an indirect route, in our case also unknown) north from our hotel took us to the Borghese Gallery. I was told to make reservations ahead of time, which I did, on line. It was a good thing as none were to be had for the days we would be in Rome. Pictures were not allowed either and so I borrowed these from copyright free places on the internet.

This villa was originally built in the early 1600's and was restored to it's original condition in 1997.

It houses a substantial portion of the Borghese family collection of paintings and sculptures begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621).

Scipione Borghese was an early patron of  Gian Bernini, and thus many of his works are housed here.

My favorite of everything I saw was a fresco on the second floor in the Gallery of Lanfranco, named The Council of the Gods. This fresco decorates the ceiling of a large room, called Sala della Loggia and was done in 1624 by Giovanni Lanfranco.  At the centre is set the scene of the gods gathered in council around Jupiter. This room had originally been an outdoor room and so the fresco had deteriorated. Between 1779 and 1782 the  ceiling  was restored by Domenico Corvi (1721-1803), who added the paintings on the walls and arches. The ceiling is a fresco, which is a painting done in wet plaster. Small sections are worked at a time so the painting can be completed before the plaster dries. The apparent statuary of  men holding up the ceiling all around the edges is done in the trompe-l'oeil style, which tricks the eye into thinking it is 3-D. It was utterly amazing!

I sat in a chair on the edge of the room and looked at this painting for a long time. It was so beautiful.

I had not yet seen the Sistine Chapel.

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