Borghese

WC Art Encyclopedia Borghese Crest

The Borgheses were an Italian family with noble and papal background. They originated from Siena. In the 16th century the then head of the family, Marcantonio, a politician and lawyer in papal service, moved to Rome. His son Camillo was elected Pope in 1605.

Pope Paul V was an unabashed nepotist. He did not only supply his brothers with positions, he also adopted the son of his sister, Scipione Caffarelli/Borghese, and made him Cardinal and Prince of Vivero.

Said Scipone was a major patron of the arts. He started and advanced the career of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Under his guardianship the family art collection grew rapidly.

The art collection was re-structured and re-ordered by Marcantonio III Borghese when he turned the family villa in Rome into a genuinely public museum in the late 18th century. He moved the sculptures, which Bernini for the effect had intended to stand against a wall in the middle of the rooms.

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