Must-see paintings and sculptures

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Apollo Belvedere – the greatest work of art from among all the works of antiquity

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Benrnini’s Apollo and Daphne – a rock animated by love

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Young Sick Bacchus – an artist in the guise or perhaps something much more?

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Woman with a Unicorn - an image of a virgin marked by virtue

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s David – a sculpture testifying to the power of faith and humility

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath – a victor filled with sorrow

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa – an anthem on the subject of bodily union with God

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Gaul Killing Himself and his Wife – meaning, praise of an honorable suicidal death

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Laocoön Group – the dramatic story of one arm and its lack

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s The Story of Aeneas – meaning where the pope searched for his roots

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bronzino’s John the Baptist – between cold eroticism and refined devotion

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s St. John the Baptist – a work of art, sacrilege, or child pornography?

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes – a refined mixture of violence and desire

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Fornarina – a mysterious love interest or perhaps…

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antoniazzo Romano’s Legend of the True Cross – miraculousness told in a Renaissance way

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Domenichino’s The Hunt of Diana – a painting about spying and its unfortunate results

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Jacopo Sansovino’s Madonna del Parto – between a saint and a maid

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Madonna delle mani – an indecent work, damaged and found anew

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Madonna of Loreto - the sanctity of dirty, coarse feet

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Andrea Sansovino’s Madonna and Child with St. Anne – a work praised by poets

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Giovanni Lanfranco’s Apparition of the Virgin to St. Lawrence – a thematic painting yet not bereft of artistry

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bronzino’s Madonna with Child, St. John the Baptist and St. Anne – meaning a song of love sentenced to suffering

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child with St. Anne – a work despite and against itself

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of St. Matthew – death among onlookers and terrified passersby

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Crucifixion of St. Peter – a painting on the banality of evil

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Giovanni Baglioni’s Heavenly Love and Earthly Love – a virtue in the struggle against sin

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Moses – the remains of a tragic work

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Mosaics in the Church of Santa Pudenziana – how the Good Shepherd became a lawgiver

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Melozzo da Forlì’s Musical angels – Christ among songs, music and dance

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Narcissus at the Source – a tragedy of unfulfilled love, or perhaps a story about the essence of art

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul – meaning how Saul became Paul

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Domenichino’s The Last Communion of St. Jerome – a work about the superiority of communion under one kind

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pasquino – snide, mean and still today irreplaceable

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antonio Canova’s Pauline Borghese as the Venus Victrix – remember me like this for ages

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Pietà – an astonishing story of silent suffering

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Guercino’s The Funeral of St. Petronilla – a difficult topic, masterfully solved

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X – a real, perceptive and effective portrait

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Portrait of Pope Clement IX – a subtle image of a delicate pontifex

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bronzino’s Portrait of Stefano Colonna – a picture-perfect condottiero

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s The Rape of Proserpina, meaning sanctioned rape

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s Rape of the Sabine Women – all is well that ends well

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius – a symbol of imperial harmony and peace

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Ludovica Albertoni – a masterpiece in the shadow of a moral scandal

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bernini’s Statue of St. Bibiana – meaning how to present a virgin in the moment of bliss

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Stefano Maderno’s Lying St. Cecilia – a miracle or an elaborate mystification?

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew – how a sinner becomes the chosen of God

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Fire in the Borgo – a hymn on the subject of more than just antiquity

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Carlo Saraceni’s Transitus Mariae – meaning how the Discalced Carmelites co-created the image of the Most Holy Virgin

Must-see paintings and sculptures

The Transfiguration – the most divine of all Raphael’s works

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Michelangelo’s Vault of the Sistine Chapel – a masterpiece born out of doubt and suffering

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Stanzas – meaning how the popes had wanted to live

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Saint Cecilia Playing the Lute – an autoportrait in the guise of a saint

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Saint Cecilia Distributing Alms to the Poor– a story of the recalcitrant Roman populace

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Carlo Saraceni’s St. Cecilia with an Angel - two musicians

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Saint Jerome – the Doctor of the Church as a weapon in the struggle against heretics

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Melozzo da Forlì’s Sixtus IV Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library – pope as an earthly ruler and a patron of science

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s’ The School of Athens– a fancy riddle or an alternative history

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea – beauty and the beast in a Renaissance version

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Pietro da Cortona’s Triumph of Divine Providence – family apotheosis, meaning painting to the point of breathlessness

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Guido Reni’s Crucifixion of St. Peter – meaning a reason for a duel

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Dying Gaul – a funeral rhapsody in memory of the Gauls

Must-see paintings and sculptures

The Deliverance of St. Peter– between reality and a vision

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Giovanni Lanfranco’s Venus Playing the Harp – a tribute to music or perhaps to love?

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, and Satyr – a sublime allegory or a courtly jest?

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s Fortune Teller – a painting about the dangers of life and the illusion of art

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Daniele da Volterra’s The Descent from the Cross – a faded shadow of a great work, meaning the aftermath of vandalism

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Caravaggio’s The Entombment of Christ – a perfect work

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Dirck van Baburen’s The Entombment of Christ – catching up with Caravaggio

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Raphael’s The Deposition – a painting of suffering, the fragility of life and an unforgettable loss

Must-see paintings and sculptures

Antoniazzo Romano’s Annunciation – meaning, how the Virgin Mary can miss the most important moment of her life

Giovanni Baglioni’s Heavenly Love and Earthly Love – a virtue in the struggle against sin

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Giovanni Baglioni’s Heavenly Love and Earthly Love – a virtue in the struggle against sin

These were the best of times when art was talked about without end. Times when the composition, color scheme, but especially the mysterious, ambiguous message of a painting was something to get excited about. A painting became an object of intellectual disputes and a true stimulus for spiritual pleasures. This was noticed by art patrons and collectors from the beginning of the Seicento period – a time of increased interest in works dedicated to private contemplation.  And they had a lot to choose from since at that time Rome became home to thousands of artists coming into the city f...

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Artemisia Gentileschi’s Saint Cecilia Playing the Lute – an autoportrait in the guise of a saint

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Artemisia Gentileschi’s Saint Cecilia Playing the Lute – an autoportrait in the guise of a saint

A young woman in a beautiful dress is playing the lute, looking up, as if she was searching for inspiration. She could be one of the courtiers at the duke’s court making the time more enjoyable for both residents and guests, and if it had not been for the title of the painting we would not have thought that it depicts a saint. The artwork was painted by Artemisia Gentileschi “the only woman in Italy”, who had ever known what painting, color, impasto, and similar things mean”. This is what was claimed by the great expert of Baroque art, Roberto Longhi in his essay from 1...

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Gerrit (Gerard) van Honthorst (1590–1656) – a restrained nocturnal painter

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Gerrit (Gerard) van Honthorst (1590–1656) – a restrained nocturnal painter

The turn of the XVI and XVII centuries in the Netherlands was a period of social unrest and religious struggles. In Utrecht, ruled by the Protestant, yet liberal elite, the artist was part of the Catholic minority. He learned his trade at the workshop of the famous Abraham Bloemaert. From among the forty-eight painters active in Utrecht at that time, twenty-five went to Italy. Van Honthorst did likewise. During several years he obtained valuable commissions for large-format works designated for churches and captured the minds and hearts of private collectors. His rapid career was a shock, even...

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