TEFAF Maastricht March 10-19, 2017 The Netherlands

TEFAF LOAN EXHIBITION 2017 - Galleria Borghese

This year, the loan exhibition traditionally hosted in the Paper section of TEFAF Maastricht will feature the works from one of the most renowned Italian museums of the world, Rome’s Galleria Borghese. The extraordinary Villa that hosts the Museum was conceived since the very beginning as an exhibition space, embodying the history and development of Italian collecting from the 17th century - when Cardinal Scipione Borghese started the collection, until the 19th century - when it took its final form. TEFAF Maastricht considers Galleria Borghese an exquisite example of collecting passion: the Museum’s collection ranges from antique to modern, from sculptures to bas-reliefs, ancient mosaics and paintings dating between the 15th and the 18th century.

Villa Borghese, which hosts the Gallery palace, was built in the early 17th century outside Rome’s Porta Pinciana, just around another property owned by the Borghese family. The first part to be built included the Secret Gardens and the Uccelliera pavilion, then later the Meridiana pavilion too. Over time, new plots of land allowed the enlargement of the property, creating a massive urban Park with three different enclosures, which basically didn’t undergo any changes until the renovation in the late 18th century.

The Villa embodied the status of the Siena-based dynasty, whose success in Rome reached a new peak when Camillo (1605-1621) was elected Pope, under the name of Paul the Fifth. This led to a new phase of urbanistic and art projects aimed at strengthening the figure of the new Pope.

Once appointed Cardinal Nepote, the Pope’s nephew Scipione Caffarelli Borghese became the head of the ecclesiastic state, managing diplomatic relations and any pontifical ceremony. In 1613 the Cardinal commissioned the construction of the Villa and its Palazzina (villa) Pinciana to architect Flaminio Ponzio; the project was later completed by architect Giovanni Vasanzio, who was also a Flemish cabinetmaker. The Renaissance Villa was designed to host the Cardinal’s astonishing painting and sculpture collection, creating a perfect balance between art, architecture and nature.

Scipione Borghese was a very active collector, as owning art was his biggest passion: this led to the creation of one of the richest and most extraordinary collections of all time. It was first hosted in Borgo, where Scipione bought a property (which today goes by the name of Torlonia palace) in 1609. About ten years later, paintings and sculptures were moved to Villa Pinciana. 

Galleria Borghese offer the unique chance to see many extraordinary masterpieces right where they were conceived - the place where everything, from decorations to furniture, was designed to be consistent with the artworks. 

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Photo: © Candida Höfer / VG Kunst, Bonn.

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