Virtually explore the Galleria Borghese with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
Link to the Galleria Borghese's website
Antonio Canova, Paolina Borghese as Venus Victorious
Napoleon’s sister courted controversy and posed semi-nude for Canova, who sculpted her as a modern-day Venus.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina (or The Rape of Proserpina)
Pluto hoists up Proserpina. She resists, pushing him away. Their desires clash, creating a dynamic composition.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne
Skin transforms into bark, limbs sprout branches, and stone softens into flesh. What a perfect subject for Bernini.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, David
Duck! This slingshot may never fire, but Bernini fools us. We can feel David gathering strength to battle Goliath.