Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Italy Diary: Rome, Part 6

We had reservations for Museo e Galleria Borghese today (you absolutely need to have reservations for this museum as sales are by advance only and for a strict period of 2 hours). There are 3 sculptures by Bernini which are remarkable. First, is “Apollo and Daphne” which is so exquisitely rendered. The details are incredible, from Apollo’s flowing drapery to Daphne’s fingers and toes as she begins her transformation into a tree, to the tear on her check. The leaves are light and delicate and fragile looking. Bernini was only 26 years old at the time of its execution. It is situated in the room so that you see the statue as the story unfolds; Apollo from behind, then Daphne as she begins her metamorphosis into a laurel tree (supposedly Daphne called out to the Gods to save her). This piece brought tears to my eyes and I didn’t want to move on.

Second, is his work of “The Rape of Proserpina.” I have seen pictures of this work, but am glad to have the opportunity to see the actual piece. The passion and realism—you see where Pluto’s hands dig into Proserpina’s flesh, and feel the force of her desire to get away as she pushes against him, stretchng the skin around his eye. It is breathtaking. The third piece is his “David,” which is also full of emotion. There is also a sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte, which caused quite a stir when it was commissioned as she posed nude for it. The only downside to this museum is that once your reach the picture gallery, you are only allowed a 1/2 hour to view all the paintings, an inadequate amount of time. And they are strict about it. They actually find you and tell you it’s time to go.

We tried to see the gardens of the Medici Villa afterwards but they are only open on Saturday and Sunday. We did make it back to Castel Sant’Angelo, which has a great view of the city from the top.

We bought a painting in Piazza Navona this evening; a momento of our return trip. Tomorrow we are off to Viareggio.

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