Galleria Borghese dedicates its major mono-graphic exhibition to Luigi Valadier: the most famous Italian goldsmith, silversmith, and bronze founder of his time
Tourists and Romans alike often associate Rome’s splendour with the city’s display of art from antiquity. Galleria Borghese, however, turns that notion on its head by boasting a new exhibition that shows that the Roman art scene has more to offer than just treasures from the time of the gladiators. The Valadier Exhibit, running until February 2nd, is showcasing original works from Luigi Valadier, the most famous eighteenth century decorative artist of his time. Valadier held an intimate relationship with the Borghese family, producing some of their most valued pieces in their private collection.
In light of this, Galleria Borghese, with the support of the Italian fashion brand Fendi, has put about ninety of his works on display, including religious sculptures, liturgical furnishings, silverware, bronzes, dining accessories, illustrations, and more. The exhibition is made up of over ten rooms, all of which are gasp-inducing (really – the people I had walked in with all audibly gasped in awe). Each room is made up entirely of marble and frescoes, complementing the array of gold, bronze, and silver creations from the genius of Luigi Valadier. Some of the pieces on display include an oil lamp made of silver and gilt bronze made in 1760 that is roughly the size of an adult man, table ornaments from 1785 inspired by ancient Egyptian art, religious sculptures made of bronze from 1772 – the list continues.
Despite the name, the exhibition is not limited to art from the eighteenth century. In true Italian style, the collection mixes art from different eras as well. In any one of the blush-toned rooms, you can find Bernini statues from the 17th century, Roman imperial art, paintings from Caravaggio (one of which being “La Madonna Dei Palafrenieri”), and third century floor mosaics. It is clear that the Galleria Borghese has put together a diverse assemblage of art from different time periods, proving Rome’s ability to inspire artists from antiquity to modernity.
Till 2 February 2020
Piazzale Museo Borghese, 5
Tue–Sun 9am–7pm, Thur 9am–9pm,
Special openings November and December: Fri 9am–10pm, Sat 9am–11pm
Entry fee €20 (+ €2 reservation)