A Day Trip to The Borghese Museum- Rome

Rome’s Galleria Boghese is arguably one of the world’s most “expensive” art museums, housing masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael, Canova, Titian and Rubens from the prestigious Boghese family collection.

The villa that houses the art gallery is the former family home of the Borghese family. The architect was Hippione Borghese, a cardinal by his proper profession and an art collector by hobby, patron of Caravaggio and Bernini, and the majority of the treasures in the Borghese Gallery are from his collection. During his career, he presided over the restoration of several churches and the construction of new ones, in which his exceptional aesthetic skills were highlighted.


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A Day Trip to The Borghese Museum- Rome

About The Borghese Museum

Returning to the Borghese Gallery, there are countless treasures in the collection, especially the considerable number of Caravaggio and Bernini, thanks to Hippione’s appreciation and patronage of them. In 1808, Camillo Borghese, the head of the Borghese family and Napoleon’s brother-in-law, was forced to “sell” a large part of the family’s collection to Napoleon, such as the ancient Greek sculptures – the Borghese’s Gladiator, and the mysterious Sleeping Hermaphroditus, both of which are now in the Louvre in Paris, are incomparable masterpieces. (Don’t just squeeze the “Mona Lisa” when you visit the Louvre, there’s plenty more to see. Check the travel visa requirements with Visa Express before you visit the country.

The Borghese’s treasures are exhibited on two floors and in 20 rooms

Venus Victrix, the image of Pauline

Author: Antonio Canova

Period: 1804-1808

Paulina Borghese was the wife of the aforementioned Camillo Borghese, the sister of Napoleon. Shortly after his marriage, Camillo asked Canova to make a semi-nude sculpture of his wife. The original plan for the sculpture was Deanna, the goddess of hunting, but Pauline insisted that it be made into Venus.

Generally speaking, it is rare to have a work modeled on a woman from a famous family that is ‘candid’. The “Gossip Entertainment” at the time asked her how she could wear such a cool dress, and she replied that the room had a fireplace, so it was not cold at all.

Ratto di Proserpina

Author: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Period: 1621-1622

This dynamic work is based on the mythical story of Pluto, the king of the underworld, who fell in love with the beautiful Proserpina, took her captive while she was gathering flowers and brought her into the underworld through a huge crack in the earth. Her mother, Ceres, the god of the valley, left Olympus and searched for her daughter. As a result, the land of Olympus stopped growing crops, seeds rotted, grains dried up, and there was a famine on earth. Jupiter (that is, Zeus in Greek mythology) had to order Pluto to return Proserpina. But Pluto had already made her eat food from the underworld and could not return to earth. The final compromise was that Proserpina returned to the earth for six months to be with her mother, when spring was in full swing and everything was revived. Another six months in the underworld as the queen of the underworld, when the earth is cold and the land is barren.


Author: Gian – Laurenzo Bernini

Period: 1623-1624

David is a frequent subject of sculptures, the most famous of which are, of course, the marble sculpture David by Michelangelo and the bronze sculpture David by Donatello. This marble sculpture by Bernini is more dynamic, a movement of David throwing a stone at Goliath, with his whole body muscles and facial expression tense and tense.

David was Bernini’s last work for the Bishop of Hippione Borghese. Because at that time, Bernini’s best friend became Pope Urbano VIII, and thereafter it was dedicated to the service of the ultimate big boss.

Apollo e Dafne

Author: Gian – Laurenzo Bernini

Period: 1622-1625

Bishop Hypione’s wealth and Bernini’s productivity seemed too good a match for each other. While he was working on this sculpture, he received another order for David, so work on Apollo and Daphne was suspended, so it took three years to complete, and with an assistant

Giuliano Finelli, who was responsible for the Daphne part.

Time reveals the truth (La verità svelata dal Tempo)

Author: Gian – Laurenzo Bernini

Period: 1646-1652

It was more than twenty years later when Pope Urbano VIII, Bernini’s golden master, had died. He began to work on Time Reveals Truth, an extremely beautiful but unfinished sculpture of a young girl, representing “Truth”, being spun mercilessly by time, her stripped clothes fluttering in the wind, holding a sun in her hands, her expression curious; unfortunately, the second part, representing “Time”, was not completed, and we still do not know how Bernini intended to represent “Time Reveals Truth”.

At that time, most of the artists were commissioned by nobles or churches and were paid to work. Bernini, on the other hand, created “Time Reveals Truth” completely spontaneously, so it is more difficult to know the reason behind it.

Most of the Caravaggio works in the Borghese Gallery were stolen by the Cardinal from the painter Giuseppe Cesari, who had been Caravaggio’s teacher. Below are a few of Caravaggio’s famous works.

San Giovanni Battista

Author: Caravaggio

Date: c. 1610 (disputed)

The painting shows John as a young boy, but with a sad frown on his face. Caravaggio produced at least eight paintings of John the Baptist during his lifetime, and these are now distributed around the world, mostly in Rome, where this one is in the Museo Borghese, and in Caravaggio’s later years.

The Boy with the Fruit Basket (Fanciullo con canestra di frutta)

Author: Caravaggio

Date: c. 1593

Caravaggio’s beautiful boy is his friend and companion, the Sicilian painter Mario Minniti, holding a large basket of fruit of many varieties. This painting is therefore often the subject of study by botanists and historians.

The Boy with the Fruit Basket often recalls another painting by Caravaggio from the same period, Bacchus, the Sick God of Wine

Visiting information

Address: Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, Roma

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 – 19:00 (doors close at 17:00); open every Thursday evening 19:00-21:00; closed every Monday, December 25 and January 1

Admission: 13€, reservation fee 2€/person with a docent (ticket included) €19.50, reservation fee €2

Reservations are required and there is a 2-hour time limit on visits.






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