Herm of Bacchus

2020-07-13T15:34:14+00:00

Herm of Bacchus – Valadier 1773

Recorded as being on the ground floor of the Villa Borghese in the first half of the 19th century, this work, executed in 1773, was greatly admired by the archaeologist Antonio Nibby. Although he believed it to be antique — without, however, specifying the period — later studies have shown it was executed in the 18th century by an exponent of Roman Neoclassicism, Luigi Valadier. The son of Andrea Valadier, he directed the latter’s workshop from 1759, when he began to work […]

Truth unveiled

2020-01-12T11:25:37+00:00

Truth unveiled (1647 A.D.)

Unlike most of Bernini’s sculptural groups in the Galleria Borghese, Truth Unveiled was not executed by the artist as the result of a commission, it was de¬scribed in a letter that the duke of Brac- ciano — Paolo Giordano II Orsini —- sent to Cardinal Mazzarino on 6 July 1647, which is the terminus ante quem for the sculpture. The artist had, in fact, been working on it for about six months, after he had completed Pope Urban VIIPs tomb, which was displayed to […]

MARCUS CURTIUS THROWING HIMSELF INTO A CHASM

2019-07-18T12:31:57+00:00

MARCUS CURTIUS THROWING HIMSELF INTO A CHASM – Pietro Bernini 1617

The imposing sculptural group is the result of successive reworkings of an ancient archeological find, a horse carved in Pentelic marble that was restored by the sculptor Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo’s father, in 1617. At the same time he added the figure of the rider to turn it into a representation of the legendary episode of Roman history in which Marcus Curtius throws himself into the chasm. In Livy’s version of the story, a chasm had opened […]

Pauline Bonaparte

2019-07-12T11:57:34+00:00

PAULINE BONAPARTE – Canova 1805

Paolina Bonaparte is sculpted like a Winning Venus.
As in the case of all sculpture of the second half of the eighteenth century, even in this work by Canova the moving forms, richly decorated, with strong contrasts, are replaced with sculptures with rigorous characters, devoid of decoration, which take their cue from the Roman copies of classical sculptures geche, immovable in monumental and timeless positions.
Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, married Prince Camillo Borghese and was portrayed by Canova at the age of 25.
Like the victorious […]

Aeneas and Anchises

2019-07-12T12:19:08+00:00

AENEAS AND ANCHISES – Bernini 1619

The work, whose historicized title is Enea and Anchise, was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese and is considered the first modern sculpture exhibited in the Borghese Gallery. According to Domenico Bernini (son of Gian Lorenzo) it was dated to 1613 and so the historian Filippo Baldinucci wrote, but thanks to some archival finds, today we know that the dating is to be postponed around 1619 when Bernini was in his early twenties. Moreover, thanks also to a payment note for his pedestal, the […]

Statue of Sleeping Hermaphrodite

2019-07-12T13:40:58+00:00

STATUE OF SLEEPING HERMAPHRODITE

The Sleeping Hermaphrodite is a marble sculpture depicting the character of Greek mythology Hermaphrodite, son of Hermes and Aphrodite, life-size. There are numerous ancient examples and modern copies; the most famous is the one today at the Louvre Museum, where the statue lies on a specially carved mattress by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The model derives from the ancient depictions of Venus and other female artistic nudes, and partly from the contemporary Hellenistic feminised representations of the god Dionysus / Bacchus. It is a subject repeatedly […]

Rape of Persephone

2019-07-12T14:09:12+00:00

RAPE OF PERSEPHONE – Bernini 1621

It is almost unbelievable to think that Gian Lorenzo Bernini, when he was going to make one of his most celebrated masterpieces, the Ratto di Proserpina, was only twenty-three years old: yet, despite his very young age, he was already an established sculptor, and he had already had a chance to work for the powerful patron who had commissioned him from the very famous Borghese Gallery group. The task was given to him by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (Rome, 1577 – 1633), one […]

David

2019-07-12T14:39:58+00:00

DAVID – Bernini 1623

The David sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini enhances the physical qualities of the young biblical character, striving to throw the stone at Goliath.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, David, 1623-1624, marble, h 170 cm. Rome, Galleria Borghese

DESCRIPTION
David stands with his chest turned to his right. With his hands he tends the sling armed with the big stone. His face is contracted into a grimace that reveals a deep concentration. The young hero is naked, like a classical statue, covered only by a drapery tight around the hips. Below […]

Apollo e Dafne

2019-07-12T08:24:19+00:00

APOLLO E DAFNE

Gian Lorenzo Bernini created for Cardinal Scipione Borghese an unprecedented masterpiece depicting the metamorphosis in laurel of the Nanny caste, Dafne, pursued in vain by Apollo, god of light.

Cupid is offended by the words of the god so triggers a love tragedy. The Apollo and Daphne sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini is one of the most famous interpretations of the myth.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne, 1622-1625, marble, h 243 cm. Rome, Galleria Borghese

DAFNE TURNS INTO A LAUREL PLANT
Apollo chases Daphne because he is in […]