This morning was the earliest start of our entire trip so far. We met at the Galleria di Borghese at 8:30 a.m., which meant that I was out of bed at 6:30. Despite the early wake-up call, I was completely enthralled by the Gallery and its contents.
Our tour began with a brief history of Caravaggio, an artist with whom, until today, I had been unfamiliar with. His pieces, however, were pure genius. My favorite was his Madonna dei Palafrenieri, for which Caravaggio used a prostitute as his model for the Virgin Mary. I love what this says about society, and about the concept of redemption.
I was most enraptured with (of course) Bernini. Each of his four commissions for the Borghese family was based on mythology, which is another one of my passions, and so I was already familiar with the “plots” of his works. Bernini focused much of his efforts on capturing the intensity of both the physical and emotional heights of David (David and Goliath), Apollo and Daphne, Pluto and Persephone and Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius/Iulus. His technique for Apollo and Daphne was particularly impressive, as the leaves sprouting from Daphne’s fingers, although made of marble, looked thin and fragile enough to actually blow in the wind.
Ultimately, the Borghese Gallery was exceptional!