Colonna Palace and Art Gallery




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    Enrique Gonzales

    I saw that you sell a tour including the Colonna Palace and Doria Pamphilii Palace. I am fond of Velasquez, is his famous painting still on display in the Doria Pamphilii gallery?

  • Sure thing, Enrique! The portrait of Portrait of Innocent X by Velasquez is definitely one of the painting masterpieces in the Doria Pamphilj collection, along with the three Caravaggio’s canvas (Repentant Mary Magdalene, Rest on the Flight to Egypt and Saint john the Baptist) and Raffaello’s highly celebrated Double Portrait.

    To stress on the importance of this piece, a mid-19th century arrangement of the Gallery moved the artwork into a special chamber built for it at the far end of the wing running along the Via del Corso, with the purpose of isolating it from the rest of the exhibition.

    The portrait, a masterpiece of 17th century portraiture, was painted between around 1650 and depicts a satirical, saturnine and hideous Pope Giovanni Battista Pamphilj, Pope from 1644 to 1655. Funny to know that apparently the Pope was not at first very enthusiastic about his portrait, describing it as troppo vero, "too real", not an idealized portrait as was customary at the time. However, we are told that it eventually won his approval, and he presented the Spanish painter with a very valuable gold chain. Velázquez himself must presumably have been very pleased with the portrait, or he would not have taken a replica back to Spain with him. His art colleagues certainly praised it, and many copies of the work were made. Check out on Francis Bacon's "Screaming Pope", painted in 1953 after the Velasquez masterpiece! 

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