Borghese Gallery

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Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598—1680) Italian baroque sculptor, painter, and architect

Raphael (1483—1520) Italian painter and architect

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Borghese Warrior

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Rome. Italian state museum housed in the Villa Borghese. This was built (1613–15) for Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1576–1633) as a rural retreat (it was then on the outskirts of Rome) and a place to house his magnificent art collection. The nephew of Pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese, 1552–1621), Scipione held numerous lucrative church positions and he used his huge income to indulge his love of fine living, which included a genuine passion for art. He was Bernini's first important patron, and the Gallery has an unrivalled representation of the sculptor's early work, including two busts of Scipione. It also boasts more Caravaggios than any other collection (Scipione was an early admirer). Scipione was ruthless in using his power and influence to acquire coveted works, most notably with Raphael's Entombment, one of the most famous pictures in the collection: with the connivance of his uncle, he had it illegally removed from the chapel in Perugia for which it had been painted and replaced it with a copy. Other members of the family added to the collection after Scipione's death, notably Prince Marcantonio Borghese IV (1730–1800), who had much of the interior of the villa remodelled in a Neoclassical style appropriate to the ancient sculpture displayed there. However, because of financial difficulties, Marcantonio's son, Prince Camillo Borghese (1775–1832), sold part of the collection to his brother-in-law Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807, including the Borghese Warrior. In 1891 paintings, sculptures, and antiquities from other Borghese properties were installed in the villa, and in 1902 the building and its contents were bought by the Italian government.

Subjects: Art.

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