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Borghese Gallery The most important part of Borghese Gallery, sculptures and paintings, goes back to Cardinal Scipione's collection (1579-1633), son of Ortensia Borghese, sister of the Pope Paolo V and of Francesco Caffarelli, but the events of the following centuries have left remarkable traces as well.

Cardinal Scipione was interested in all the expressions of Ancient, Renaissance and Contemporary art, with the aim to revoke a new Golden Age. He was not very interested in Medieval art but instead passionately searched for ancient sculpture. The Cardinals ambition helped in the creation of new sculptures and, above all, of marble groups that can be compared with ancient works of art.

The portrait of Paolina Bonaparte Borghese, painted by Canova between 1805 and 1808, can be found in the villa since 1838. In 1807 Camillo Borghese sold Napolen 154 statues, 160 busts, 170 bas-relieves, 30 columns and various vases that constitute the Borghese fund of Louvre. But already during the third decade of the 19th century the lack many works of art was filled by new material coming from recent archeological excavations.

The Cardinal's collection of paintings was remarkable and in 1613 had already been described in the poetry of Scipone Francucci. In 1607 the Pope had given Scipione 107 paintings confiscated from the painter Giuseppe Cesari, also known as Cavalier d'Arpino. The year after the clandestine removal from the Baglioni Chapel of Saint Francesco Church in Perugia took place along with the transportation to Rome of the Deposition by Raffaello, assigned to Scipione by the Pope.
In 1682 a part of the heritage of Olimpia Aldobrandini, including the collection of Cardinal Salviati and Lucrezia d'Este, became part of the Borghese collection.
In 1872 Camillo Borghese bought the Danae by Correggio in Paris.
"Out of Pinciana door he built a beautiful palace in his garden, in which there is every kind of delight that one can desire and have in this life, all adorned with wonderful ancient and modern statues, with excellent paintings and other precious things, with fountains, fish-ponds and other beauties..." , that's the way G. Baglione, contemporary painter and art critic, judges the work of the Borghese Pope (1605-1621). After the purchase of lands and vineyards and the concession of Acqua Felice in the first decade of the seventeenth century, the works of construction of the palace lasted one year, from 1612, while the furniture with the sculptures, the manufacture of the large bird cage by Girolamo Raialdi (in 1617-19) and the settlement of gardens lasted until about 1620.

The architecture can be mostly ascribed to Flaminio Ponzio, extraordinary architect of the cardinal and the Pope.

Ponzio invented the ratio of volumes of the halls, the Doric architecture of the external, and sat the palace architecture free from the traditional aspect of villas, more closed and monolithic, making emerge beside the towers projecting parts in a dynamic proportion, followed by the order of windows and doors communicating with the garden on the four sides.

Villa Pinciana has been built to become a museum, a place of culture, for the exhibition of exemplary images of contemporary and ancient art, for the music, but also for the contemplation of nature (with rear plants and animals), of fossils and also of the modern technology of the time ( for example automatons, mirrors, odd lenses and clocks).

From the Villa was managed a commercial farm that included vineyards, vegetable gardens, hunting, stalls, dovecotes in the towers, a big bird cage, an ice stock, a cave for the wine and also the growing of silkworms. The rarer plants, imported from Holland and New Indies, and a zoological garden completed the "Universe theatre" thought by Scipione.

The bright facade of the villa in the middle of the green garden today seems recovered, and comparing with 1984 is closer to the original splendor of the seventeenth century. The original colors of the facade have been restored. The colors ( mostly ivory and marble) underlines the ideal of an ancient architecture as well as the Doric pillars and the proportions of the whole building. Another important work is the reconstruction of the two ramp stair by F. Ponzio, with the copy of an antique vase with two horns of plenty (original at Louvre) at the top of the stair. The reconstruction of the stair, that has taken the place of the former one (late eighteenth century), allows to use the basement.

Recently, the shutters have been removed because they altered the original rhythm of the windows. All the statues and bust of the facade, seriously damaged by the lack of ordinary maintenance and by rain water, wind, dust and moss, have been restored.

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