The Galleria Borghese

The most fascinating feature of the Galleria Borghese is the fact that, after more than two centuries, frescoes, sculptures and paintings are still today perfectly intact, well preserved and consistent with the history of the Borghese family.
In fact, visitors are struck by the rarefied atmosphere, similar to being in a time warp.
The history of the Gallery begins in 1607, when
Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, after confiscating over 100 paintings from the artist Cavalier d’Arpino, and other masterpieces, needed a place to keep them and commissioned the architect Flaminio Ponzio to construct a building on the model of Villa Medici, not far away.
In a few years, the Borghese Collection came to boast the greatest number of works by Bernini and Caravaggio, as well as a great number of ancient sculptures, which in the 19th century the family was forced by
Napoleon to sell, as they were destined for the Louvre.
The Emperor’s passion for the collection was born thanks to the marriage of his sister Paolina with Prince Camillo Borghese: the portrait of the princess in the guise of Venus, created by Antonio Canova, is the last work to have entered the museum.
The building was finally completed by Dutch architect
Giovanni Vasanzio (Jan van Santen) and in the second half of the 18th century completely redecorated under the supervision of Antonio Asprucci.
Today the arrangement of the works still respects the 18th-century scheme; the building was completely restored between 1995 and 1997 with the reconstruction of the double staircase, the portico and the interiors.
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