Russian avant-garde at Ara Pacis Museum

April 5 – September 9

The most remarkable achievements of Russian art in the XX century – Cubo-Futurism, with its unique synthesis of European trends of the time, the originality of Abstract art, Constructivism, with its architectural compositions, and Suprematism with its geometric purity – are represented in this single major exhibition: Russian Avant-gardes. Press conference: 4 April 2012.


Opening hours

Tuesday-Sunday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm;
Last admission 1 hour before closing time;
Closed: Monday, 1 May.

Entrance ticket: TBD
Info: tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm)

Ara Pacis

Represents an important monument to the art of this period, especially because it reveals the relationship with Greek art. Consecrated by Augustus in 9 BC, the Ara Pacis (“Altar of Peace”) was erected to celebrate the peace established by him after the wins in Spain and Gaul, who marked the consolidation of authority over the entire Roman Empire . Since 1938 is in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, but originally it was in the Campo Marzio, the Roman quarter to which Augustus wished to entrust his memory over the Ara Pacis, in fact, here he also built his Mausoleum (ie his grave) and a monumental sundial, the Horologium Augusti solarium or (the Egyptian obelisk of Psammetichus II today in Montecitorio Square).

The Ara Pacis is a square enclosure around the altar of sacrifice: the exterior walls are decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the imperial family, priests and officials who attended the consecration ceremony. Other reliefs show instead the legendary origins of Rome.
The altar was used for prayer and sacrifice animals to the gods: their blood had to be washed away from the holy place and this explains the presence of two drainage holes (ie, openings through which you could remove the blood) .


Today we visit the Galleria Borghese!

Galleria Borghese

The splendid small palace that hosts the Borghese Gallery was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century as the private residence and for public representation of the Borghese family in the favorite public park of  the Romans (Villa Borghese).

From the very beginning it housed the collection of cardinal Scipio (1579-1633), nephew of Pope Paul the Fifth Borghese. The picture-gallery had already been transferred there in 1615 and in 1625 about two hundred pieces of ancient sculptures were also transferred there. The original core of the collection testifies cardinal Scipio’s deep interest in antiquity, classicism, and the innovative artistic currents of the time, excluding Medieval art. The collection was increased in the course of time through confiscations, donations, and purchases and was further enriched at the end of the seventeenth century by the inheritance of Olimpia Aldobrandini. In 1807 prince Camillo Borghese, husband of Paolina Bonaparte, had to hand over to Napoleon much of the archaeological collection (154 statues, 160 busts, 170 bass-riliefs, 30 columns, and several vases that today constitute the Borghese Fund at Louvre in Paris). In 1902 the Italian State purchased the rest of the collection and the palace. A long restoration has given back the original white marble color to the façade and rebuilt the external double-flight staircase according to the original design. Currently the collection consists of sculptures, bass-riliefs, and ancient mosaics, sixteenth-seventeenth century paintings, and sculptures. They include masterpieces by Antonello da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, Perugino, Pinturicchio, Veronese, Raphael (Deposition), Domenichino (Diana’s hunt), Titian (Sacred and profane love, Venus blindfolding Love), Correggio (Danae), Caravaggio (Youth with a fruit basket, the Madonna of the footmen, David with Goliath’s head), Rubens (Pietà) and magnificent sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Proserpina, David) and Canova (Paolina Borghese).

Apollo and Daphne Carrara’s marble cm. 243  Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Apollo and Daphne

This life-size marble sculpture, begun by Bernini at the age of twenty-four and executed between 1622 and 1625, has always been housed in the same villa, but originally stood on a lower and narrower base set against the wall near the stairs. Consequently anyone entering the room first saw Apollo from behind, then the fleeing nymph appeared in the process of metamorphosis: brak covers most of her body, but according to Ovid’s lines, Apollo’s hand can still feel her heart beating beneath it.Thus the scene ends by Daphne being transformed into a laurel tree to escape her divine aggressor.





  Pauline Bonaparte(1805-1808) Antonio Canova

Paolina Bonaparte

This marble statue of Pauline in a highly refined pose is considered a supreme example of the Neoclassical style. Antonio Canova executed this portrait between 1805 and 1808 without the customary drapery of a person of high rank, an exception at the time, thus transforming this historical figure into a goddess of antiquity in a pose of classical tranquillity and noble simplicity.

The Deposition (1602) oil on canvas cm. 180×137  Pieter Paul Rubens

The Deposition

Pieter Paul Rubens, the genius of European Baroque, painted his Deposition during his first stay inRome. Rubens provides us with an extraordinary interpretation of the theme of the incarnation of the divine and human nature of Christ, suspended between death and potential future life. All the shades of the spectrum of light are apparent in the flesh tones, with an opalescence that develops that mother of pearl quality first introduced by Federico Barocci (see also the contrast between the living hand of Mary Magdalene and the bluish tinge of Christ’s as compared with Raphael’s painting).

Madonna of the Palafrenieri (1605) oil on canvas cm. 292×211  Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio

Madonna of the Palafrenieri

On 16 April 1606, the large, new canvas of the Madonna of the Palafrenieri was removed from one of the most important altars in St. Peter’s after only a month, because of its lack of decorum and deviance from figurative tradition. It was then exhibited in Cardinal Borghese’s collection in the hall of honour in the palazzo del Borgo and later transferred to the entrance hall in the Villa Borghese.

The novelty of this painting lies in the existential and human drama of the three figures facing danger. St. Anne, in antique style, detachedly contemplates the scene, as Mary teaches the young Jesus how to crush the serpent, symbol of sin and heresy. Darkness envelops the figures set in an undefined place, but an unnaturally bright light bursts forth from above bathing the child’s skin in a warm glow.



Pluto and Proserpina (1621-22) white marble cm. 255  Gian Lorenzo Bernini

The large marble group of Pluto and Proserpina by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, shows Pluto, powerful god of the underworld, abducting Proserpina, daughter of Ceres. By interceding with Jupiter, her mother obtains permission for her daughter to return to earth for half the year and then spend the other half in Hades. Thus every spring the earth welcomes her with a carpet of flowers.

The group was executed between 1621 and 1622. Cardinal Scipione gave it to Cardinal Ludovisi in 1622, and it remained in his villa until 1908, when it was purchased by the Italian state and returned to the Borghese Collection. In this group Bernini develops the twisting pose reminiscent of Mannerism, combined with an impression of vital energy (in pushing against Pluto’s face Proserpina’s hand creases his skin and his fingers sink into the flesh of his victim).

Seen from the left, the group shows Pluto taking a fast and powerful stride and grasping Proserpina, from the front he appears triumphantly bearing his trophy in his arms; from the right one sees Proserpina’s tears as she prays to heaven, the wind blowing her hair, as the guardian of Hades, the three-headed dog, barks. Various moments of the story are thus summed up in a single sculpture.

David (1623-24) white marble cm. 170  Gian Lorenzo Bernini

It was Cardinal Scipione Borghese who commissioned the statue of David, confronting the giant Goliath and armed only with a sling, executed between 1623 and 1624 by twenty-five-year-old Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The youth’s tense facial expression(fig.1) is modelled on Bernini himself as he struggle with his tools to work the hard marble. The oversize cuirass leant to David by King Saul before the encounter lies on the ground with the harp David will play after his victory, which is decorated with an eagle’s head (fig.2), a symbolic reference to the Borghese family.

Boy with a Basket of Fruit   (1571 – 1610)
Oil on canvas, 70 cm × 67 cm (28 in × 26 in) Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

The painting dates the time when Caravaggio, newly arrived in Romehis native Milan, was making his way in the competitive Roman art world. The model is his friend and companion, the Sicilian painter Mario Minniti, at about 16 years old. The work was in the collection of Giuseppe Cesari, the Cavalier d’Arpino, seized by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1607, and may therefore date to the period when Caravaggio worked for d’Arpino “painting flowers and fruits” in his workshop; but it may date a slightly later period when Caravaggio and Minniti had left Cavalier d’Arpino’s workshop (January 1594) to make their own way selling paintings through the dealer Costantino. Certainly it cannot predate 1593, the year Minniti arrived in Rome. It is believed to predate more complex works the same period (also featuring Minniti as a model) such as The Fortune Teller and the Cardsharps (both 1594), the latter of which brought Caravaggio to the attention of his first important patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte.

At one level the painting is a genre piece designed to demonstrate the artist’s ability to depict everything the skin of the boy to the skin of a peach, the folds of the robe to the weave of the basket. Also note the shadow along the back wall; Caravaggio is probably painting the shadow of him and his canvas. The fruit is especially exquisite, and Professor Jules Janick of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University, Indiana, has analysed them a horticulturalist’s perspective:

The basket … contains a great many fruits, all in nearly perfect condition and including a bi-colored peach with a bright red blush; four clusters of grapes — two black, one red, and one “white;” a ripe pomegranate split open, disgorging its red seeds; four figs, two of them dead-ripe, black ones, both split and two light-colored; two medlars; three apples—two red, one blushed and the other striped, and one yellow with a russet basin and a scar; two branches with small pears, one of them with five yellow ones with a bright red cheek and the other, half-hidden, with small yellow, blushed fruits. There are also leaves showing various disorders: a prominent virescent grape leaf with fungal spots and another with a white insect egg mass resembling that of the oblique banded leaf roller (Choristoneura rosaceana), and peach leaves with various spots.

The analysis indicates that Caravaggio is being realistic, in capturing only what was in the fruit basket; he idealizes neither their ripeness nor their arrangement—yet almost miraculously, we are still drawn in to look at it; for the viewer it is very much a beautiful subject.

At another level commentators have remarked the sensuality of Minniti as portrayed by Caravaggio, with his bared shoulder, slender throat, and languid gaze – so much so that more than one connoisseur over the centuries has taken Minniti for a girl. But if there is a hint of sensuous longing in Caravaggio’s portrayal of Minniti, there is none in Minniti himself: he gives every appearance of a boy posing for a friend with a heavy basket, a little tired, but obliging. This is the first evidence of the psychological, as well as physical, realism that would mark Caravaggio’s mature works.



Rome, Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5


Fax: 0039 06 32651329 prenotazione gruppi

Online purchase:

Telephone: 0039 06 32810 (lun-ven 9.00-18.00; sab 9.00-13.00) – 8413979

Telephone booking: 0039 06 32810 (lun-ven 9.00-18.00, sab 9.00-13.00)

Telephone purchase: Per singoli 060608 tutti i giorni dalle 9.00 alle 21.00

Web site:


Tuesday-Sunday: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm;
Last admission: 5.30 pm;
Ticket office close at 6.30 p.m;
Closed: Monday, 25 December 2011 and 1 January 2012.
Please note: admission is strictly reduced at only 360 persons every 2 hours (mandatory exit at the end of time slot)Admission is strictly reduced at only 360 persons every 2 hours (mandatory exit at the end of time slot).

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Exhibition: Rome at the time of Caravaggio 1600-1630

Roma al tempo di Caravaggio 1600-1630
November 16, 2011 – February 5, 2012
Rome, Palazzo Venezia

Caravaggio was an absolute genius of painting that has overshadowed all the artists of his time. But who were his companions on the road? The exhibition “Rome at the time of Caravaggio 1600-1630” (Palazzo Venezia, 16 November 2011 – February 5, 2012 planning and scientific care of Rossella Vodret, scenic design by Pier Luigi Pizzi) answers this question by reconstructing for the first time, through the ‘exhibition of approximately 140 paintings from the major Italian and foreign museums, some never exhibited before in Italy, the connective tissue of the art scene of the Eternal City where he lived and worked the great Lombard genius.

The exhibition looks at what can be called a crucial moment of Italian painting, who was born in the late sixteenth century in a Rome that was still in crisis because of the traumatic Lutheran schism and developed, with increasing force, through the reign of four major Popes Clement VIII Aldobrandini, Pope Paul V Borghese, Pope Gregory XV Ludovisi Urban VIII Barberini. This unique moment lasted about thirty years, from 1600 to 1630 and the events that occurred in that period largely depended the European artistic development which lasted until the late seventeenth century. Continue reading


25 February – 10 June 2012
curated by and Vittorio Sgarbi
High commissioner: Giovanni Morello
Catalogie scientific Coordinator: Giovanni C.F. Villa
Exhibition texts by Melania Mazzucco

Body snatching of San Marco - Tintoretto

JACOPO ROBUSTI (or CANAL), better known as TINTORETTO (1519-1594), is the only key Italian 16th century painter not to have had a major monographic exhibition devoted to his work to date. If we ignore the thematic exhibition of his portraits held in Venice in 1994, the last exhibition of the great Venetian master’s work was held in 1937, due among other reasons to the sheer physical impossibility of shifting the large canvases that he painted in Venice

The exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale is part of a broader programme designed to explore the work of those artists who have helped to make the story of art in our country so unique and so grandiose, ranging from Botticelli to Antonello da Messina, from Bellini to Caravaggio and, more recently, to Lorenzo Lotto and Filippino Lippi.
This exhibition, focusing on the three main themes that distinguish Tintoretto’s work: religion, mythology and portraiture, is strictly monographic and will be divided into sections comprising a handful of carefully selected and unquestioned masterpieces, beginning and ending with his two celebrated self-portraits of himself as a young man, from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and as an old man, from the Louvre. Even though he was in competition with Titian, his contemporaries yet recognized his “utterly exquisite eye in portraiture”, and some of his most famous portraits from leading international collections will be on display here in Rome.

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Happy Birthday from the the Ministry for Arts and Culture.

Seen the great success of last year, the Ministry has renewed the initiative for the entire 2012, offering free admission to visitors of state art venues on their birthday, thus inviting to spend a day of celebration to the discovery of the immense cultural heritage present in Italy.

The promotion consists of a free ticket for Italian and European Union citizens to state cultural sites on their birthday, showing identity card at the box office.

When the birthday coincides with the closure of places, the free ticket will be valid for the day following the closing.

The Infant Jesus of Pinturicchio, comparing two paintings

The world’s oldest public museum, founded in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV with the donation to the Roman people of the large Lateran bronzes, is divided into two buildings that surround the Senatorial Palace along with the Piazza del Campidoglio:  Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo.


22December 2011 – 5 February 2012

Il Gesù Bambino di Pintoricchio, due dipinti a confronto

Palazzo Nuovo – Capitoline Museums

Type: Late Antique and Medieval Art

Il Gesù Bambino di Pintoricchio
Il Gesù Bambino di Pintoricchio – Due immagini a confronto

A very special Christmas gift to all visitors ofRome, thanks to two special lendings from the Fondazione Guglielmo Giordano and the Fondazione Sorgente Group: the exhibition of two paintings by Pinturicchio in the Capitoline Museums.

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Capitoline Museums and Samsung


Capitoline Museums and Samsung present a new way to experience the museum visit
 The Capitoline Museums are pleased to introduce an innovative service designed to enrich the visit of the rooms offering more information on the works of art and history on them, with insights about the artists, findings, reviews and criticism. Thanks to the cooperation with Samsung Electronics Italy, visitors can receive these information using the innovative technology through the smartphone Samsung Star NFC  Museums that will make them available at the box office. During the visit, visitors will find a card NFC* like the one shown below in correspondence of numerous works of art.


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Vatican Museums Aside


Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani), in Viale Vaticano in Rome, inside the Vatican City, are among the greatest museums in the world, since they display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. More than five hundred years old, the Vatican Museums trace their origin to a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) – including the famous Laocoon and His Sons – and first displayed to the public in 1506, in the Vatican’s Cortile Ottagono.Pope Julius II was particularly fond of ancient sculpture and contemporary painting. In 1503, the year of his appointment as Pope, he placed some works of art in the gardens of the Belvedere, enabling a small number of scholars and Continue reading

Vatican Museums