Today I start things off with a pope. Maffeo Barberini, Pope Urban VIII is this sculpted bust by Gianlorenzo Bernini, standing in the Baroque Room. Even as a bust it has the feeling of movement, as if the pope is welcoming someone into his presence. Bernini worked for the Catholic church throughout his career (and, if you take Dan Brown too seriously, was a secret Illuminati master sculptor who laid out a trail of sculptures in Rome for Robert Langdon to follow in one preposterous evening, but let's not get silly). The bust humanizes him- Urban has lines around the eyes, stubble along his jaw- and feels quite true to life.
Nearby hangs this oil painting. Salvator Rosa painted The Return Of The Prodigal Son at some point between 1655-65, depicting the New Testament parable of a foolhardy son who demanded his inheritance early, spent it wastefully, came to ruin, and comes home to his forgiving father.
Another New Testament moment lies across the room in this oil painting. Christ And The Woman Of Samaria was painted in 1647 by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barberi). It recounts the moment that Jesus meets a woman who has come to draw water from a well. He uses the notion of water as a metaphor for salvation: 'the water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.'
The Dutch artist Salomon van Ruysdael painted River Landscape around 1650, depicting life along a river close to home.
Aelbert Cuyp, another Dutch artist, painted this oil painting around the same time. Cattle, Herdsmen, And Rider depicts a country setting. Cuyp was known to repeat certain motifs in his work, including cows and horsemen, and here he depicts the results of a fertile and prosperous locale.
Here we have a second take on that biblical parable. Dutch artist Jan Weenix painted The Return of The Prodigal Son in 1668. It places the setting to suggest Italy.
Italian artist Pietro Rotari did this oil painting around 1754-56. Young Woman With A Fan gives us a woman who seems at ease, but aware of her observer.
Here we have a view of the other interior courtyard with the reflecting pool from above.
Today I finish off with a small sculpture, Venus Plucking The Wings Of Cupid. This bronze by Massimiliano Soldani recounts an element of the myth of Cupid & Psyche, and shows the goddess of love in an uncharacteristic wrathful state where her son is concerned.