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National Gallery of Ancient Art
art gallery in Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini in Rome, Italien
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National Gallery of Ancient Art
art gallery in Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini in Rome, Italien
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Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13
Roma
Italy

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Palazzo Barberini is where Hannibal Lecter's family used to grow grapes for their nice chianti. 

It is built on the site of the Sforza family vineyards.  The Sforzas could have given the Sopranos a run for their money, producing a dynasty of stone-cold, power hungry motherf@#kers.  Their political conniving was truly Machiavellian...no, really, they were the family that inspired Machiavelli’s The Prince.  One of the most famous members was Lucrezia Borgia, bastard daughter of Pope Alexander VI, renowned for dabbling in inscest, assassination and the usual noble virtues.  Another notable member was Ludovico Maria Sforza, the guy who commissioned The Last Supper.  They were so influential they even have famous fictional offspring, such as cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, son of Simonetta Sforza.

Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini), bought the property to celebrate becoming God’s anointed agent on earth.  What better way to show your devotion to the Lord and Savior who condemned wealth than by building a lavish, baroque villa designed by Bernini...it’s what Jesus would do!  Like the Sforzas before them, the Barberini had a knack for profitable scheming, and apparently made off with 105 million thanks to Urban’s status as Pope.  One critic commented, “his kindred flew from Florence to Rome like so many bees...to suck the honey of the Church, which they did excessively.”  Urban also destroyed priceless bronzes from the ancient Roman Pantheon, leading to the pun, “What the barbarians did not do, the Barberini did.”

Today, the Palazzo houses one of Italy’s most important collections of art, and considering Italy is basically the capital of Western Art, that’s saying something!  Highlights are Raphael’s ode to toplessness La Fornarina, Caravaggio's ever-popular Judith Beheading Holofernes, and a Hans Holbein of Henry VIII.  The collection is also home to Guido Reni’s portrait of Beatrice Cenci.  Beatrice was a kickass rape vigilante, who was sentenced to death by Pope Clement VIII for murdering her own father/rapist, an incident which may have inspired Artemisia Gentileschi’s Jael and Sisera.

So, just to recap: in connection with the Palazzo Barberini we have a Pope who fathered illegitimate children, a Pope who misappropriated Church funds and destroyed ancient artifacts, and a Pope who unjustly sentenced a rape survivor to death.  Now excuse me while I go convert to Judaism.    

 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica

The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (GNAA), or National Gallery of Ancient Art, is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, the main national collection of older (broadly, pre-1800) paintings in Rome. It has two sites: the Palazzo Barberini and the Palazzo Corsini.

The Palazzo Barberini was designed for Pope Urban VIII, a member of the Barberini family, by 16th century Italian architect Carlo Maderno on the old location of Villa Sforza. Its central salon ceiling was decorated by Pietro da Cortona with the visual panegyric of the Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power to glorify the papal Barberini family.

The Palazzo Corsini, formerly known as Palazzo Riario, is a 15th-century palace that was rebuilt in the 18th century by architect Ferdinando Fuga for Cardinal Neri Maria Corsini. For a partial list of artworks, see Palazzo Corsini entry.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.