Barberini Palace, Caravaggio, Raphaello, chiaroscuro cieling

October 21, 2015

The Barberini Palace, just up the hill from Bernini’s Tritone Fountain, is an immense mansion and the home of the Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, art from about the 15th c -17th century.  Here is Caravaggio’s Narisco- Narcissus. Get a load of the reflection!

Narciso by Carravagio

Narciso by Carravagio

In the galleries I try to find something I can draw. I try to find something that is interesting and doable in 5-10 minutes and where there is a seat, good lighting, things like that. Sketch of Gerrit van Bronckhorst’s Betsaben al Bagno. I’d never heard of this painter. Seems to have been influenced by Caravaggio, given how he treats the light here.

Gerrit van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno in Galeria Nazionale d'Arte Antica Rome

Gerrit van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno in Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Antica Rome

Sketch of van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno

Sketch of van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno

Back to Caravaggio, here’s another masterpiece hanging in room 20 (in my best Spanish accent, I asked where this room was in Italian and got a reply in Spanish!).  It’s so gruesome I nearly walked out of the room!

 

Caravaggio's Judith and Holofernes

Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes

Salvator Rosa’s “La Poesia” and “La Musica” (17th century) are superb.

Salvator Rosa - La Poesia3 Salvator Rosa - La Musica

 

And a rarity for the time, a woman painter, and quite a good one!  Portrait of a Young Woman Dressed as a Bacchante

'Portrait of a Young Woman dressed as a Bacchante, by Angelica Kauffmann, Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy.

‘Portrait of a Young Woman Dressed as a Bacchante, Angelica Kauffmann,

 

 

Here’s yet another prize- what the Galleria notes as the first female nude:

Pierre Subleyras

Pierre Subleyras

 

Jacopo Zucchi “Ritratto di Ciela Farnese”

Jacopo Zucchi 'Ritratto di Ciela Farnese

Jacopo Zucchi ‘Ritratto di Ciela Farnese

 

As for the building, it is a divine palace built by the Barberini family, whose symbol, three bees, appears throughout.  It is in wonderful shape.  The most magnificent room is on the second floor, immense and nearly empty except for several small sofas in the middle.  People lay on them and look at the ceiling, some 20 meters/60 feet above.  Here’s why:

Pietro da Cortona Triumph of Divine Providence.

Pietro da Cortona Triumph of Divine Providence.

 

You have to go there to appreciate all of these, especially this ceiling though.

All this for 7 euros.

About Gary Kirkpatrick

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