BARBERINI PALACE – ANCIENT ART NATIONAL GALLERY Rome private tour

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ANCIENT ART NATIONAL GALLERY IN BARBERINI PALACE

Luxury private tour in Rome – local guide with car

Palazzo Barberini - Romeprivate tourFounded in 1895, the National Gallery was housed for a long time in Corsini Palace; since the ’50s it has been set in Corsini Palace and Barberini Palace. The latter was built in 1625 for Francesco Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII, by three of the greatest architects of the Roman 17th c.: Carlo Maderno’s design (quadrangular plan of the building and opening towards the surrounding green by means of side wings) was inserted into the pre-existent villa with garden. Gian Lorenzo Bernini succeeded Maderno (central hall, loggia and three architectural orders of the facade, entrance staircase to the first floor) counting on the collaboration of Francesco Borromini (windows of the piano nobile, decorative elements, spiral staircase on the right of the facade). Inside the Palace Andrea Sacchi painted The Divine Wisdom (1629-33) and Pietro da Cortona, between 1633 and 1639, frescoed the central hall with the Triumph of the Divine Providence, an allegorical theme to celebrate the family of the Pope, whose emblem with the three bees is in the middle of the composition: this fresco is the masterpiece of the Baroque illusionistic decoration.

Barberini - Galleria Nazzionale d arte anticaThe 16th c. imposing structures and decoration are in contrast with the apartment dating from the half of the 18th c. on the second floor, reopened at last to the public (although you have to remind the guardians at the end of the visits); small spaces with low ceilings let imagine another kind of privacy and different social conventions. The apartment, decorated between 1750 and 1770, contains undamaged decorations and tapestry of the neo-classical age, like the typical alternation of wall mirrors and stucco pilasters and the oval portraits of the members of the Barberini family. Of remarkable interest are the paintings in the Battles Room by Domenico Corvi and Nicol) Ricciolini. The collection is not made up of a single legacy; but consists of several collections (Barberini, Torlonia, Sciarra, C -lig° with the addition of private donations. The coldness of the arrangement does not help the visitor: fortunately, the 15d1, 16th and 17th c. works here displayed are of a remarkably quality.

Palazzo Barberini Plan

palazzo barberini scala

Before going up to the first floor, we suggest to go where there is the flight connecting the building and the gardens and the “ponce ruinante” designed by Bernini which suggests the opening towards the gardens. The sixteenth century works are arranged to the left of the entrance, organized by regional schools and chronology. Among the numerous portraits note Magdalene (1501) by Piero di Cosimo, Portrait of a Gentleman by Bartolomeo Veneziano, in which the background landscape can be seen thanks to the opening of a curtain, typical of the Venetian school. Erasmus portrayed in his studio by Quentin Metsys (1517), a typical Humanist in his office, Henty VIII (1540) by Holbein, the famous Fornarina (1518-19) by Raphael, whose signature is Ion his mistress’ bracelet, depicted as she lazily covers her nudity with a veil: it is one of the most famous paintings of the artist and she became the feminine nude model over the centuries (from Goya to Ingres).

The Barberini golden harp

Venus play the golden harp – painted by Giovanni Lanfranco – Video and music by Adel Karanov

The harp was built between 1605 and 1620 for the Barberini family, whose coat of arms with the three bees crowns the finely carved and gilded pillar. The instrument was given by the Barberini family to Marco Marazzoli, a respected singer, instrumentalist and composer born in Parma around 1602. A prominent figure in the musical life of seventeenth-century Rome and closely linked to the Barberini circle, the musician was known as Marco dell’Аrра because of his renowned virtuosity in playing the instrument. In 1662, on his deathbed, the harp was returned to his patron, Cardinal Antonio Barberini.

Together with the instrument, Marco Marazzoli also left to the Cardinal a beautiful painting of the Allegory of Music, which the painter Giovanni Lanfranco, his friend and fellow countryman, had painted expressly for him. The painting, kept in Rome at the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini, depicts a young Venus playing the precious Barberini Harp, albeit with some differences with respect to the instrument preserved here, and which are still the subject of debate among scholars today.
From a musical point of view the most important feature of the instrument is represented by the three rows of strings: two identical rows for notes in the diatonic scale, and another in the centre, allowing one to play the accidentals, thus making the harp a fully chromatic instrument before the invention of the pedal system at the beginning of the 1700s.

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