I was going to do a separate blog post about Bernini, as I am a huge fan now; but he is the reason I went to the Borghese Gallery so here is a combo post.
Let me back up though, because to get to the gallery I first walked through a beautiful park. It is the kind of serene place where you see lots of people enjoying being outside. I saw children playing. young couples making out, people walking their dogs, and others enjoying a picnic lunch. I spent about an hour in the park and really enjoyed my time there.
Picture taking was prohibited in the gallery so I am borrowing pictures from other sources. The Borghese only lets 200 people in every two hours, and you only have two hours before the next group comes in. If going, get your tickets ahead of time! I did, and noticed when I arrived on a Wednesday that they were sold out through Friday.
I like the idea of a limited number of people, but because they let everyone in at the same time it takes a few minutes before people really start to spread out. I recommend running right upstairs and working from the top floors down. I don’t have lots to say about the top floor. I didn’t spend as much time there, but the art was fabulous. The top floor is more about paintings, and the main floor is where the amazing sculptures are. Handily, there is a bathroom (and nothing else that I saw) right between the two floors.
The statue that most captivated me was Apollo and Daphne. I spent a long time walking around this one and really looking at it. I can’t believe what they did with marble! And, what remarkable condition it is in given its approximate age – almost 400 years old. It is such a gift to future generations that people took good care of the art from 300, 400 and 500 years ago. However, after careful inspection I think I found a place where a leaf had been broken off.
Not at Borghese, but another of Bernini’s pieces that really interested me was the Ectasy of St Teresa. (This was featured in Angels and Demons.) The facial expressions, carved in marble, are so detailed they took my breath away. Plus, the entire piece is surrounded by marble columns and gold “light” coming down from heaven. It isn’t like a statue stuck in a corner; it is really set to be a feature of the chapel and cathedral where it lives.
Bernini was a genius!