Friday, February 17

Galleria Borghese (Connor)

One museum we went to on our trip to Italy was the Galleria Borghese. This museum is housed in the beautiful Villa Borghese and contains many sculptures and paintings. The focus of the first floor were a few beautiful Bernini sculptures accompanied by various other sculptures. The most impressive sculpture was The Rape of Proserpina. Bernini showcases his skill here by using different textures for different parts of the sculpture, differentiating the skin from the dog fur, and by showing tiny details such as Hades’ hands pressing into Proserpina’s skin. The second floor was made up of paintings.

 

Galleria Borghese (Katelyn)

On the 7th day we went to the Galleria Borghese, where the Caravaggesque and Caravaggio paintings are housed, as well as many Bernini statues. I really enjoyed seeing the Bernini statues which are not based on the classical style and contain a large amount of emotion in every aspect of each piece from the clothing of the figures to their expressions. The detail was also amazing, especially in the Rape of Proserpina in which even the indents of Hades’ hand on Persephone’s thigh were clear and suggestive of the lust reflected in Hades’ eyes. While walking around the museum, I was able to find numerous examples of Bernini’s skill at portraying high emotion and power. These statues drew my eye, as they connected with the viewer in their intensity.
Another exhibit I loved was the Caravaggesque flowers, which are paintings made by artists trying to imitate Caravaggio’s style. The reasoning for my fixation with the flowers is that they were made of simple and uncomplicated strokes, but contained a complex realism which drew me in. Also intriguing about the paintings were the rare and varied plants depicted, many of which I had not seen before.

 

Pantheon (Will)

The first feeling that I got from the Pantheon was awe over the size and the quality of the construction. The structure is almost two thousand years old and up until the middle of the 20th century it was the biggest concrete dome in the world. I think that the construction and scale is amazing, but when you get inside, the most impressive thing is the oculus in the top of the dome. You look up and you can see birds and the sky. It seems so wrong to have a hole in the roof of a structure, but there it is! Actually it adds a lot to the building, in my opinion. The structure today (and for a long part of its history) is used as a Catholic church, and that is reflected in the interior decorations, with an altar in the front and various statues in the alcoves on the sides. The interior has been preserved impressively well, and the engineering that created such an amazing space so long ago is inspiring.

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