The Borghese Gallery, also known as Galleria Borghese, is an art museum located within the Villa Borghese Pinciana in Rome (Italy). It is one of the most renowned museums in Rome and houses an extraordinary collection of artworks from various periods. The gallery was originally established by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of Pope Paul V, and a prominent art collector, and patron of the arts, in the 17th century. He amassed an extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, and antiquities, which he displayed in his private residence, the Villa Borghese. The collection was later transformed into a public museum in 1903. The Villa does not look very impressive from the outside. However, besides the numerous pieces of art, which can be admired inside, the villa is a real eye-catcher in itself with its richly decorated interiors.
Construction of the villa began in 1613. The architects responsible for the design of the Villa Borghese were Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Vasanzio. Ponzio was the chief architect of the project and oversaw the overall design and construction of the villa, while Vasanzio contributed to the design of the gardens and the external aspects of the building. The artists responsible for the interior decoration include some of the most renowned names of the time.
The most opulent one of its large halls (there are at least three of them inside) is probably the so-called Emperor’s Room. It is a very spacious hall with walls almost entirely plastered with colorful marble pieces accompanied with numerous reliefs and golden leaves. It is decorated with sculptures and busts as well as by decorative marble tables. Midst of the hall you can admire the ‘Rape of Persephone’ a sculpture by Gianlorenzo Bernini).
By entering the Emperors’ Room, the first association you would have is, it looks like if it was in ancient Rome. (Probably). It is a kind of Roman opulence that it is difficult to find in other European countries. Only Italy was rich in marble, and heavy marble was difficult to transport in past times. (But not impossible for the rich and wealthy >>>). Besides, through years, Rome has developed a kind of second-hand market for building materials. Demolishing an old building often meant taking out the good stuff to install it elsewhere. In Rome, many buildings were redecorated in the XVI and XVII century with building materials that were initially installed elsewhere. In fact, in Rome you never know, whether a decoration you see was made initially for the location you admire, or it decorated some other building in the past.
The hall does not have only a Roman imperial look. It also hosts eighteen alabaster busts of the twelve Roman caesars, sculptured in the XVII century and placed there at the beginning of the XIX century. Hence its name – the Emperors’ Room.