Visit a top restoration lab with our Restoring Caravaggio tour
Masters of the Baroque
– Private Tour of the Borghese Gallery
Located inside Rome’s second biggest park, you will find the estate of one of the most powerful families that set the artistic taste in the city. Cardinal Scipione Borghese, Pope Paul V’s nephew, had a villa built in 1613 in his family estate just outside the gates Rome. It had a pleasure garden of the kind that had become famous during the Renaissance and whose archetype can be seen at Villa d’Este in Tivoli. It had paths in the green, fountains, tombstones and of course ancient statues and architectural works. In the middle of this garden there was a casino where Cardinal Borghese had started collecting antiquities and ancient archeological findings. But the Cardinal, who had very sophisticated tastes and a very fine knowledge in the arts, kept adding pieces to his already fabulous collection. He was friends with some of the most important and talented artists of his time, including Bernini and Caravaggio, whom he sponsored, paid and protected like a new Mecenate. Cardinal Scipione Borghese was enthusiastic about art and the collection kept expanding.
The private villa becomes a museum
Built during the XVII century to be a museum you will revisit the rooms created to launch the Baroque style in Rome. Our guide will take you through the process of creation of the gallery’s main masterpieces, giving you details about the artists whose works are collected here, about their time, and Scipione Borghese’s ruthless passion for art. Fully reopened in the late 1990s after a 14-year restoration, the Borghese Gallery is a must visit for lovers of classical statues and mosaics, Renaissance paintings, and most of the finest marble sculptures of the Baroque era. We will also take you on a walk around the beautiful grounds of Villa Borghese, where you will witness the change from a private secret garden to a public city park and finally arrive to the Pincian hill for a breathtaking view of Rome.
Bernini, Caravaggio and more
During this Borghese Gallery Tour will see amazing works by Gian LorenzoBernini, such as Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Proserpina, the King David, and many more. With incomparable bravura, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who really is the superstar of the Borghese Gallery, was able to create lively compositions in which the opposite are harmonized and the light is skillfully employed to create a sense of dramatic movement, a staged drama that is happening right before the eyes of the viewer. What Bernini really does is not sculpting but creating stunning events that are happening over and over again for us spectators, as we look at his mesmerizing statues. Undoubtedly a genius in his field he usedto say that:
“From my youth I devoured marble, never striking a false blow.”
Besides Bernini, the Borghese Gallery displays several works by Caravaggio, such as the Boy With The Fruit Basket and the David and Goliath in which Caravaggio portraits himself at different stages in life. But the gallery also contains works by neoclassic sculptor Antonio Canova (the beautiful Paolina Borghese as Venus on a Mattress), Raphael (the Deposition of Christ), and most importantly one of the absolute masterpieces of this collection, Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love. This paintings and art pieces will show you the evolution and dramatic change of what was considered beautiful during three centuries of art.