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Silenus Room

Room 8

This room, the last one on the Villa’s ground floor, is named after the Silenus to recall the group with Silenus and the Infant Dionysos, now in the Louvre in consequence of the sale of the archaeological collection to Napoleon in 1807. The work was replaced with the Dancing Satyr restored by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), who added the crotala, a musical instrument similar to cymbals. The decoration of the ceiling and the architectural design of the walls date from 1775-78. Tommaso Maria Conca (1734-1822) painted the canvas in the centre of  the ceiling, which portrays the Sacrifice to Silenus, and the two  monochrome frescos on the sides with Silenus Inebriated and Silenus Returns Bacchus to King Midas. The figures of the baccantes, satyrs, and sileni are arranged in an elaborate architectural trompe-l’oeil by Giovan Battista Marchetti (1730-1800).

The room is famous for the presence of six of the twelve paintings by Caravaggio (1571-1610) originally owned by the cardinal. The oldest are the Boy with a Basket of Fruit and the Self-portrait as Bacchus or Sick Bacchus through Paul V‘s confiscation of paintings from Cavalier d’Arpino (1568-1640). (Two paintings by the latter are present in the room: The Capture of Christ and The Abduction of Europa.) The four others (St. Jerome, the Madonna and Child with St. Anne, St. John the Baptist and David with the Head of Goliath) belong to the artist’s most mature period.. Also noteworthy are works of late-Mannerist painters, such as Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife by Cigoli (1559-1613) and Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Giovanni Baglione (1566-1643). The paintings by Dirck van Baburen (1595-1624), the Capture of Christ, and the Master of the Judgment of Solomon, the Judgment of Solomon, attest the spread of the Caravaggesque style.

As in the rest of the palazzina, ancient Roman busts and statues from the large Borghese archaeological collection are placed at regular intervals along the walls.

Works in the room


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