The National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini is full of masterpieces, especially paintings from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century. Even the building architecture and decoration are a perfect example of the rich Baroque century, one of the most fruitful periods in the history of art.
The building was commissioned in 1627 by the powerful papal Barberini family, of Tuscan origins, to the architect Carlo Maderno, who unfortunately died two years later. The work was continued by the young Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in whose yard Francesco Borromini, Maderno's nephew, worked too, to whom we owe the famous spiral staircase.
The building, modeled on the sixteenth-century Villa Farnese, then underwent some changes during construction, where the gallery was initially available only on the main floor; up to the current configuration and the establishment in 1949 of the National Gallery of Ancient Art thanks to the Italian State.
The wide collection of paintings Palazzo Barberini includes paintings from the twelfth century, continues with crosses and paintings by Giotto school of the thirteenth century.
Among the works of the fifteenth century there are masterpieces of Lippi to arrive at the largest part of the collection that includes the sixteenth century, where stand out masterpieces by Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Bronzino, Tintoretto and Caravaggio.
1600 collects works by Reni, Domenichino, Poussin, Pietro da Cortona and Gaulli. As 1700 is well represented with works by Canaletto, Batoni and Pannini.
The collection of the National Gallery of Ancient Art, originally established in 1893, is so large because it consists of several private collections, mainly that one of the Orsini family to which were added over the years that one of Torlonia and then Chigi, Hertz, Monte di Pietà and other.
Inside the gallery you can admire masterpieces such as:
- Madonna Enthroned with Child, Filippo Lippi
- La Fornarina, Raphael
- Judith and Holofernes, Caravaggio
- Triumph of Divine Providence, fresco by Pietro da Cortona