Room 1 hosts one of the most famous sculptures of the Borghese collection: the statue portraying Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix, by Antonio Canova (1757-1822).
Displayed in this room only since 1889, the work is linked to the paintings on the ceiling dedicated to the Stories of Venus and Aeneas, executed in 1779 by Domenico de Angelis.
The five paintings (in the centre the Judgment of Paris and on the sides Minerva asks the Fate Atropos to cut Troy’s thread of life; Venus convinces Jupiter to save Aeneas; Aeneas flees Troy with his father, Anchises, and his son, Ascanius; Juno asks Aeolus to unleash storms against Aeneas) are framed by the trompe l’oeil painted by Giovanni Battista Marchetti (1730-1800).
Formerly called the “Vase Room“ because of the presence of the ancient neo-Attic crater now in the Louvre, the room has preserved little of its eighteenth-century appearace, which was designed by Antonio Asprucci. Deprived of its most precious sculptures by their sale to Napoleon, it was redesigned in the second decade of the nineteenth century under the direction of the architect Luigi Canina (1795-1856). As mounted in the preceding late-eighteenth-century arrangement, the sculptures stand on ancient altars and marble columns, while the walls are decorated by ancient and modern reliefs at geometrically precise intervals.
Amongst the works displayed are the precious Bacchus Herm (1773), by Luigi Valadier (1726-1785); the Group of Leda with the Swan and Eros, a Roman work from the third century C.E. (with an unrelated head of Antonia Minor from the first century C.E.); the two Asian-marble columnar sarcophagus fronts with Apollo and the Muses from the third century C.E.; the Parian-marble relief with Ajax and Cassandra from the first century B.C.E.; and the grey-marble Portrait of a Man with a peculiar exotic hair style from the sixteenth century.