Gian Lorenzo Bernini Sculptures in the Galleria Borghese.


Built as the seventeenth century began to unfold, the Villa Borghese illustrates well Pope Paul V’s wish to honour his pontificate and Borghese name by way of his urban planning policy. 

Within two weeks of Pope Paul’s election as pontiff, his nephew, Scipione Borghese, was awarded a cardinal’s hat and accordingly became a prince of the Roman Catholic Church. By 1620, Cardinal Scipione Borghese had completed his garden villa just outside of the Porta Pinciana and subsequently began to move his already extensive art collection from his palace in the Via della Conciliazione to the new villa, which would subsequently house the Galleria Borghese

By 1620, Scipione Borghese had already begun to patronise Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose public career he had essentially set in motion by commissioning the polymath to produce a three dimensional representation of Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius. 



This commission was immediately followed by further mandates for sculptural representations of The Rape of Persephone, David and Apollo and Daphne.





Other works commissioned from Bernini, by various patrons, which found residence in the galleria, include the Bust of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the Model of an Equestrian Statue of King Louis XIV, the Bust of Pope Paul V , an Allegory of Truth and the sculpture of The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun.

In 1633, Cardinal Scipione established a deed of trust over the collection, in order to preserve it as a whole in perpetuity. 







References: Domenico Bernini, The Life of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, A Translation and Critical Edition With Introduction and Commentary by Franco Mormando, Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011.

Kristina Herrmann Fiore, Guide to the Galleria Borghese, Rome, Gebart s.r.l., 2000.

Christoph H. Heilmann, “Acqua Paola and the Urban Planning of Paul V Borghese.” In The Burlington Magazine.Vol. 112, No. 811 (Oct., 1970), pp. 656-663.


Images: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne. 1622-25, marble, height 243 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius, 1618-19, marble, height 220 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

The Rape of Persephone, 1621-22, marble, height 295 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

David, 1623-24, marble, height 170 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

Detail of Apollo and Daphne. 1622-25, marble, height 243 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

Equestrian Statue of King Louis XIV, 1669-70, terracotta, height 76 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

Bust of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, 1632, marble, height 78 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

Bust of Pope Paul V, 1617-18, marble, height 34 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art,

An Allegory of Truth, 1645-52, marble, height 277 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.

The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun, 1615, marble, height 44 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.


Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson.

Tags: , , , , ,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Officers & Contacts