Borghese Gallery Artworks guide

Borghese Gallery Artworks: Caravaggio, Bernini’s Artworks & More

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The Borghese Gallery certainly packs a punch! There is so much to see under one roof. To help get your bearings, here are some Borghese Gallery artworks you definitely must lay eyes on during your visit.

That means, if you have to skip the rest, you have at least covered the top gems that this museum has to offer.

Artwork at Borghese Gallery and Museum – How Many Rooms and Floors Is in Borghese Gallery?

Spread across two floors, the Borghese Gallery artworks, located in the Villa Borghese, are held in 20 different rooms.

You’ll need to bring your comfortable walking shoes for a trip to this museum!

Let’s check out all of the amazing pieces, from Borghese figurines to sculptures and paintings in this guide.

A lot of the pieces represented in this article are so impressive that we have individual full-length guides about them on this site.

10 Galleria Borghese Sculptures

The museum is pretty big, and 20 rooms of Borghese gallery artwork soon becomes overwhelming!

We have selected the best pieces, starting with sculptures, to help you on your way.

Let’s go.

1. David – Gian Lorenzo Bernini

borghese gallery hours Bernini David
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Other famous sculptures of David – including the renowned one by Michelangelo – show David just after his victory over Goliath.

But Bernini’s piece on display in the Borghese Gallery shows him mid-flow in action. Just about to raise his sling to kill the bad giant, this stunning piece created in 1623 shows David in motion and is truly a must-see, standing at 170cms high.

Bernini’s artwork at the Galleria Borghese is a masterpiece!

2. Apollo and Daphne – Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Apollo and Daphne sculpture Rome
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Bernini surely knocked out some gems. The next must-see Gallery Borghese sculpture is another one of his works.

Commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, it stands right in the center of one of the rooms in the museum. Apollo and Daphne is placed there strategically, as the statue has been made to be able to view it from any angle, so it makes for a stunning focal point.

It stands at 95 inches (243 centimeters) high and was completed in 1625.

3. Venus Victrix – Antonio Canova

Venus Victrix – Antonio Canova Gallery Borghese artwork
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A statue that shows no other than Napoleon Bonaparte's sister is sure to be worth a look.

Lounging on the couch, she echoes the goddess Venus. Bonaparte’s sister Pauline was married to Camillo Borghese, who took it upon himself to commission the sculpture in 1805 so that we can see what she looked like to this day!

4. The Rape of Proserpina – Bernini

Bernini masterpiece
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Number 4 for a masterpiece that stands in Room 4 in the museum (The Room of the Emperors).

The Rape of Proserpina by Pluto is a stunign masterpiece, most notably for the way that Bernini was able to make the hard cold marble look like soft flesh.

Look at the part of the sculpture where Pluto's hands are grasping Proserpina’s flesh – it is truly remarkable.

5. Bust of Cardinal Borghese – Bernini

Bust of Cardinal Borghese – Bernini artwork
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You’ll find this sculpture of the late Cardinal Borghese by Cardinal Scipione commissioned for himself (being the extremely modest man that he was).

It is a very lifelike sculpture – you can almost hear him talking – but this artwork is dedicated to the man that is the founding father of the impressive Borghese Gallery Artworks.

6. Sleeping Hermaphroditus – Bernini (copy)

Sleeping Hermaphroditus – Bernini (copy)
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This fascinating sculpture by Bernini is actually a copy of the real one that is to be found in the Louver.

But it is still pretty interesting. Hermaphrodites were a popular subject in the Hellenistic times, but for us the most interesting part is that Bernini managed to make cold stone marble look like a soft and comfy mattress on which to sleep!

7. Statuettes of Black Hunters – Campi

The statuettes are found in the Stanza del Gladiatore, the hunters are both holding birds of prey. One has a dog at his feet, the other one has a lion.

It is generally accepted that the statues were commissioned to be placed together, as they are both looking in the same direction. They were completed in 1650 by Campi.

8. Marcus Curtius Throwing himself into the Chasm – Bernini’s father – Bernini!

Marcus Curtius Throwing himself into the Chasm
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Legend has it that Marcus Curtius threw himself into a huge hole that had opened up in the Roman Forum after a massive earthquake in a bid to save the city.

It worked, and the hole closed up around him. He sacrificed his life to save Rome. This relief/sculpture was created by another Bernini – Pietro. He is the father of our other beloved Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

9. Candelabrum – Unknown from the 2nd Century AD/ restored by Antonio D’Este

You usually see the older artworks and sculptures on display in the Vatican museums, but the Borghese Galleries also have their fair share.

One such piece is this interesting 2nd Century AD sculpture. This was actually recreated in the 19th century using parts of the original and more modern additions. It is a hark back to the ancient with a modern twist.

10. Aeneas, Anchises, And Ascanius – Bernini

Aeneas, Anchises, And Ascanius – Bernini Borghese Gallery Artworks
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This sculpture is located in room VI of the Borghese Gallery and depicts Aeneas and her flight out of Greece with her father into exile in Italy.

Legend has it that her lineage eventually leads to Romulus, the founder of Rome. So whilst this sculpture is one of Bernini’s least known works, it is no less of an important one for the locals.

5 Wall and Ceiling Paintings at Borghese Gallery

Paintings too feature heavily on display amongst the Galleria Borghese Artworks.

Let’s check out the top 5 wall and ceiling paintings in this amazing museum.

1. The Deposition – Raphael

The Deposition – Raphael Galleria Borghese painting artwork
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This is another very famous piece of art on display amongst the Galleria Borghese artworks.

Showing Jesus following His removal from the cross on the way to the tomb, it was commissioned after the death of Atalanta Baglioni’s son in the early 16th century.

And eventually made its way into the hands of Cardinal Scipione Borghese and is on display as part of an altar in the Borghese Gallery.

2. Sacred and Profane Love – Titian

Painter Titian Sacred and Profane Love
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Created in 1514 this Renaissance painting draws curiosity from all who view it.

One clothed woman and one nude sit on a fountain, and a baby is crawling on the fountain in the background.

It is the subject of much debate as to what the meaning of the painting actually is. However, it is generally believed that the painting was commissioned by a local councilor to celebrate his new marriage.

The lady on the left, clothed, is thought to represent marriage, with the nude on the right perhaps representing Venus, the goddess of love.

3. Young Sick Bacchus – Caravaggio

The painting Young Sick Bacchus
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Caravaggio's Young Sick Bacchus is amongst some amazing artwork at the Borghese Gallery and Museum. But it needs to be seen to be believed. The painting is teeming with symbolism.

For example, it was painted when Caravaggio wasn’t feeling great himself in 1593, and art commentators call out the grapes in his hand that show signs of decay, compared to the ripe and plump fruit sitting on the counter.

4. Susanna and the Elders – Peter Paul Rubens

Susanna and the Elders – Peter Paul Rubens painting artwork
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The Biblical story of Susanna comes to life in this stunning painting. Susanna is innocently taking a bath, when some dirty old men come to spy on her.

In the Bible story, the men are eventually put to death because they accused her of adultery. In the Rubens artwork from 1607, Susanna can be seen being surprised by the men, who are encouraging her to remain silent.

5. Danaë – Correggio

Danaë – Correggio Borghese Gallery Artworks painting
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The King of Argos daughter Danae is on display here. In Greek mythology, she had been imprisoned in a golden tower and was eventually rescued by Jupiter.

The painting shows the exact moment that angels and Jupiter come to her rescue. The painting was completed in 1531 and became known as one of the first mannerist styles of painting.

The Borghese Gallery Mosaics

The Borghese Gallery Mosaics are a collection of 5 impressive mosaics brought to the museum by Cardinal Scipione and are one of the most amazing features of the museum.

The Gladiator Mosaics

The Borghese Gallery Mosaics artwork
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Located in the Salone of the Galleria Borghese these different mosaic scenes were uncovered at a different location in 1834 and transferred to the museum.

The story of gladiator fights is told across several scenes, with the name of each Gladiator shown beside them.

Interestingly, you can also tell who died in the fight, and which Gladiators became victors. Those who won have a little “vic” beside their name.

Get Tickets For Famous Artworks In Borghese Gallery Museum

Get Borghese Gallery artworks tickets
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Be careful when visiting the Borghese Galleries!

Tickets are limited and are only offered for certain time slots. You can check out our full guide to tickets, arrangements and tours here.

But, if you just can’t wait then here are some good ways to visit:

  • Organized Borghese Gallery Tour – Don’t miss a detail with this escorted Borghese Gallery Tour. Lasting 2 hours and including an English speaking guide, the cost is just €49 per adult.
  • Gallery and Gardens Tour – For only one euro more, visit the Gallery and the Gardens with an experienced English speaking tour guide. Expect to take up to 3 hours on this tour.

Location and How to Get There

Borghese Gallery artworks map
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Take a nice stroll through the gardens on the way to the Galleria Borghese first, especially if the weather is fine!

You can get there easily by taking metro line A and alighting at the Spagna or Flaminio Metro stations. It is a short walk from each, and there are signposts everywhere which will help you keep on track.

Arriving at Spagna metro will mean you get to also see the Spanish Steps on your way, whereas Flaminio Metro allows you to climb the Pinico Hill.

Either way, the views are stunning. There are multiple entrance points to the Villa Borghese so you are sure to find one.

  • The Borghese Gallery is located at Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma RM, Italia

Opening Hours And Best Time To Visit

Days Hours
Monday Closed
Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday & Friday 9am - 7pm
Wednesday 9am - 10pm
Thursday 9am - 9pm

You only get a 2 hour slot with your ticket, and only 360 people are admitted at any one time.

So, you need to book in advance and ensure you don’t miss your slot. As the visits are restricted, it is important to use our guide to plan exactly which Borghese Gallery Artworks you wish to see.

The slots are as follows:

  • 9:00 to 11:00 am
  • 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • 5:00 to 7:00 pm

The Borghese Galleries are open between Tuesday and Sunday, and are closed on New Year's Day and Christmas Day.

FAQs

faq visit borghese gallery blog

There is still a lot to know about the Borghese Gallery Artworks! Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get about this amazing museum.

What artwork is Borghese Gallery famous for?

The Borghese Gallery is famous for housing the amazing displays by private collector Cardinal Scipione Borghese. It is known especially for the vast quantity of amazing Bernini sculptures!

How far in advance should I book tickets to see Borghese Gallery artworks?

Places are restricted and if you are coming in the summer you should book as soon as you can. Tickets are released 3 months in advance.

How many Caravaggio artworks are there in the Borghese gallery?

There are 6 Caravaggio paintings on display in the gallery.

How much time should I spend seeing all the Borghese Gallery artworks?

You could take 6 hours - but the visits are restricted to 2 hour blocks, so you NEED to take 2 hours!

How long does it take to get from Vatican city to Borghese Gallery?

If you were to walk, it would take you around 30 minutes to walk the 2.2 kilometers between both sites.

How busy does the Borghese gallery get throughout the year?

In the peak seasons, the gallery is usually at capacity on each visit. Definitely, the 11am slot is most coveted. In the off season,you can sometimes get tickets on the day at the ticket booth, but to be safe we recommend booking in advance instead.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no reason to miss this stunning gallery. It only takes 2 hours and houses some of Italy’s most famous art all in one place. If you only do one museum in Rome it has to be this!

Now, head on over and check out some of our more detailed guides to some of the artworks mentioned in this article.

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