Discover the Gems of Borghese Gallery | Must-See Artwork and Sculptures

The Borghese Gallery, nestled in the heart of Rome's Borghese Gardens, is a one-of-a-kind art gallery housing a majestic collection of sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. This historic gallery is renowned for its Baroque art collections from the Renaissance period and is home to works from some of the world's most famous artists, including Raphael, Caravaggio, and Bernini.

Borghese Gallery

What to See at the Borghese Gallery?

While there are too many unique paintings and sculptures at the Borghese Gallery to mention, here are a few pieces that are worth additional attention.

sleeping hermaphrodite bernini - what to see at borghese gallery

Sleeping Hermaphrodite

Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Year: 1620

Location: Ground floor, Room IV

The Sleeping Hermaphrodite is one of the world's most spectacular sculptures, featuring a person that appears to be androgynous. While more than 20 versions of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite exist today, the one at the Borghese Gallery is considered to be the finest. Historians believe that it is a copy of a Hellenistic original from the 2nd century BC. This sleeping figure of Hermaphrodite on a mattress is meant to represent the child of Hermes and Aphrodite.

apollo and daphne bernini - what to see at borghese gallery

Apollo and Daphne, Bernini

Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Year: Between 1625 and 1628

Location: Ground floor, the first room to the right of the entrance

Bernini's Baroque masterpiece, Apollo and Daphne, is a must-see sculpture that captures the tragic tale of Apollo, the god of the sun and music, and Daphne. Hit by Cupid’s arrow, Apollo falls in love and chases after Daphne, only to have her transform into a tree just before he catches her. Despite its stationary form, the sculpture marvelously captures movement and fluidity; one can notice Daphne’s gradual transformation from human to tree. The intricate design and technical skill required to create this sculpture are breathtaking, making it one of the most iconic works in the Borghese Gallery.

melissa dosso dossi - what to see at borghese gallery


Artist: Dosso Dossi

Year: 1520

Location: Room VII on the ground floor of the Borghese Gallery

Dosso Dossi's Melissa painting is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word. Painted with vivid, imaginative brushstrokes of oil on canvas, this painting depicts Melissa, the good sorceress, who frees a group of knights who had been transformed into trees, animals, and stones by the evil fairy Alcina. One interesting observation about this painting is the elaborate details in the background landscape, which are just as prominent and fine as the key subject, Melissa. Holding a torch and tablet in either hand, Melissa looks royal and imposing.

raphael lady and the unicorn - what to see at borghese gallery

Young Woman with a Unicorn

Artist: Raphael

Year: 1506

Location: Room III on the ground floor of the Borghese Gallery.

One of the most enigmatic and striking paintings in the Borghese Gallery, Raphael's Young Woman with a Unicorn portrays a young woman with a unicorn sitting beside her. One of the first things one notices about the painting is the subject’s eyes: a piercing blue with a stoic expression. The painting has been the subject of much debate and speculation as to the identity of the young woman, with no clear answer to this day. The painting is considered to be an example of Raphael's mastery of the technique of sfumato, and art historians have drawn comparisons between the painting and Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. The unicorn in the painting is a symbol of purity and adds to the overall symbolism of the painting. The painting is a must-see for anyone interested in Renaissance art.

rape of proserpina bernini - what to see at borghese gallery

The Rape of Proserpina

Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Year: Between 1621 and 1622

Location: Salone Room, located on the ground floor of the museum. 

Bernini’s The Rape of Proserpina is a masterpiece of Baroque art that depicts tragedy through dramatic fashion and marble. Created when Bernini was just 23 years old, this sculpture portrays the abduction of Proserpina at the hands of the god, Pluto. The sculpture stands at about 7.5 feet in height and is made from a unique Carrara marble that seems to imbibe the appearance of softness. Bernini's work is heavily influenced by the classic Baroque style, portraying the lifelike motion of flesh in intricate detail. One can observe the delicate details such as Pluto's hands sinking into Proserpina's soft flesh, the anguish on her face, and his tense muscles as he attempts to overpower her. Despite its tragic subject matter, the sculpture is widely regarded as one of Bernini's most significant works and is considered a gem of Baroque art.

david with the head of goliath caravaggio - what to see at borghese gallery

David with the Head of Goliath

Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Year: Between 1623 and 1624

Location: Ground floor, middle section

David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio is one of the most personal and powerful paintings in the Borghese Gallery. Caravaggio painted this masterpiece while on the run after being charged with murder. Experts suggest that the severed head of Goliath in the painting is a self-portrait of the artist, with David being the executioner. The painting showcases Caravaggio's unique style, with the use of strong contrasts of light and shadow, known as chiaroscuro, and his exceptional ability to capture emotion and drama in his artwork. The dark and earthy background in contrast to the bright and luminous figure of David highlights the youth and determination of the protagonist. The older, weaker Goliath is portrayed in a state of despair with blood marks and lifeless eyes, seemingly conveying Caravaggio's personal struggles. The painting is a testament to Caravaggio's artistic genius and his ability to convey raw human emotions through his work.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Borghese Museum Highlights

What are the most famous artworks inside the Borghese Gallery?

Some of the most famous artworks inside the Borghese Gallery include David, Apollo and Daphne, and Sleeping Hermaphrodite, to name a few.

Which famous artists' artwork can be found at the Borghese Gallery?

The artwork of some of the most legendary Italian artists including Antonio Canova, Titian, Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Caravaggio can be found at the Borghese Gallery.

What is the significance of the Bernini sculptures in the Borghese Gallery?

The sculptures in the Borghese Gallery created by Bernini are an excellent representation of Baroque art. Besides, his sculptures and paintings are a testament to his exceptional skills and passion for art.

Are there any works of Raphael at the Borghese Gallery?

Yes, there are many works of Raphael at the Borghese Gallery, including the Deposition, the Lady with a Unicorn, and the Entombment, among others.

Is the Borghese Gallery famous for a particular form or style of artwork?

The Borghese Gallery is famous for its wide range of Baroque art collections from the Renaissance period.

What are the opening hours of the Borghese Gallery?

The Borghese Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM to 7 PM, and closed on Mondays, 25 December, and 1 January.

What is the best time to visit the Borghese Gallery?

The best time to visit the Borghese Gallery is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it is less crowded.

Where is the Borghese Gallery located?

The Borghese Gallery is located inside the Borghese Gardens. The gallery is well-connected to Rome’s public transport system.

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