The Corsini Gallery in Rome

Palazzo Corsini: The Galleria Corsini Art Museum in Rome

The Corsini Gallery (Galleria Corsini) located in the 15th-century Corsini Palace (Palazzo Corsini) in Trastevere. The original building had modifications from 1659 until 1689. It served as the residence for Queen Christina of Sweden, who lived in Rome from 1654 until her death in 1689. Moreover, the art museum is part of Italy’s Arte Antica collection, where most of the masterpieces were donated by the Corsini family in the 1800s.

History

The 15th-century palazzo located in Trastevere area served as an away-from-home palace for Queen Christina of Sweden, who abdicated her throne and lived in Rome for 35 years. Today, the Corsini Palace houses the original half of Rome’s National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica) paintings, while another part is in the Barberini Palace.

Corsini Palace

Most of the works are by 16th and 17th century Italian artists

The building started to belong to the Corsini family when Lorenzo Corsini became pope in 1736 with the name of Clement XII. He commissioned the architect Ferdinando Fuga to restructure the building and expand it.

The Corsini Gallery in Rome

In 1883, the Corsini Gallery became the first national gallery of Italy and its collections were donated to the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy

Today, the part of the palace is home to the Accademia dei Lincei. Moreover, the library of the Accademy contains the collection of books of Cardinal Neri Corsini. Also, the garden nowadays houses the Botanical Gardens of Rome.

Barberini Palace

The Barberini Palace (Palazzo Barberini) is a 17th-century palace in Rome, facing the Piazza Barberini. It houses the Rome’s National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica). It was built in 1549 and occupied by the Sforza family. However, when Cardinal Alessandro Sforza had financial hardships, Maffeo Barberini purchased the building in 1625. Three famous architects worked to create the palace: Carlo Maderno, Franceso Borromini, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who completed the works in 1633.

Barberini Palace

In 1953, the Barberini Palace became a museum and joined Galleria Corsini at the seat of the Rome’s National Gallery. The collections of both Corsini Gallery and Barberini Palace include masterpieces as “Allegory of Divine Providence” by Pietro da Cortona, “La Fornarina” by Raphael, “Judith and Holofernes” by Caravaggio, a bust of Urbano VIII by Bernini and works from the 17th and 18th centuries from the collections of the Barberini and Corsini families.

Paintings

The Gallery contains masterpieces like Murillo’s “Madonna and Child”, Filippo Lippi’s “Tarqunia Madonna” with baby Jesus, and artworks by Rubens, Van Dyck, Andrea del Sarto, Luca Giordano, Guercino and others.

Corsini gallery paintings

Two famous works are masterpieces by Caravaggio and Guido Reni that connected to the life of John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist

In around 1605 Caravaggio dealt with St John the Baptist about two compositions: one in the Kansas City Gallery and the second one in the Rome’s National Gallery. The first one is laid out vertically, while the second one horizontally. In the Roman version, there is only one trunk of a cypress tree located on the left, while the Kansas version is set before many plants. Undoubtedly, both masterpieces are impressive.

st John the Baptist by Caravaggio

Guido Reni, in turn, created “Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist” 30 years later than Caravaggio, in 1630-35. The Bolognese painter depicted one of the New Testament’s stories. Salome, the daughter of Herodias, pleased her father, Herod Antipas, by dancing at his birthday celebration that he promised to realize her any wish. However, prompted by her revengeful mother, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist, whom Herod had imprisoned for condemnation of marriage. So the painting illustrates the moment when the head of the saint is presented to the daughter.

Useful Information

  • Location: Via della Lungara, 10
  • Tel.: (+39) 06 68802323

Opening Hours

  • Monday and Wednesday – Saturday from 2 pm to 7.30 pm
  • Sunday from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm
  • Closed: Tuesdays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st

Tickets

Palazzo Barberini + Galleria Corsini

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Author: Kate Zusmann

For the last five years I live in Rome, Italy. Recently, I've graduated from the American university of John Cabot with major in communication and minor in entrepreneurship. I have a passion for writing, traveling, and exploring new things.