Only in Museum #19

When in Rome, one place to visit for art lovers is the Borghese Gallery. In the late 16th century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, made his opulent residence in Rome. It helped that he was also the nephew of the Pope. And the Cardinal was in the habit of procuring every pretty thing that caught his fancy, sometimes with money (little sums) and sometimes with coaxing. Whatever his ways, the house has probably the best art and sculptures of that time. Luckily for us, it’s now a museum that common folks can visit (with a paid ticket of course).

Now there is one work of Caravaggio that is on display there, which was paid for quite meagerly, not at all matching the magnificence of his work. But he was a rebel and who in position of religious authority likes a rebel?

So what was wrong with this painting you wonder? Look at it carefully.

Madonna and Child with St. Anne (dei Palafrenieri)

It was commissioned to be an altarpiece for the altar of St. Anne at the St. Peter’s Basilica. But look at the picture. St. Anne (the grandma of Jesus) looks like a regular woman, Jesus is naked and the neckline of Mary’s dress is rather low. Who would feel the “divinity” of the family here? The halo on their heads is not enough! So the altarpiece was rather short-lived as an altarpiece and went to adorn Borghese’s villa. Some accounts say he paid 100 bucks for it.

Good that nobody destroyed the artwork and we can admire the skill of the artist in this museum, even though the way of acquisition of the painting can be questionable..

Would be great if you would join the “Only in Museum” series by posting something you found catching your eye in one of your visits to the museum. Then create a pingback to this post by including the link to my post in yours. You can also give the link to your post in the comments section below. Also, tagging the post with “Only in Museum” and “OiM” would help all readers find these posts easily.

In this blog, I focus on sharing some of the photographs that I capture, often during my travels but also in the everyday life. If you’d like to read about my travels, you can find the stories on this blog – Reflections on the River.


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