A dialogue between Cardinal and the Countess

The picture of this lady from the Renaissance period was given as a gift to Francis I, King of France, by Cardinal Bibbiena, on behalf of the Medici Pope Leo X, who had earlier instructed Raphael to do several religious painting in order to give them to the monarchs with the intention of persuading the monarchs to join in the war with the Turks. When you first enter into the last room of the exhibition, you are faced with the Portrait of Cardinal Bibbiena and this delicate lady. One of the first things you might notice is how the two

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Il Guercino vs Velazquez

During the last week in Rome I tried to travel back a few centuries ago and imagine Diego Velazquez visiting the city in 1630. Walking through the rooms of the Barberini Palace, wandering at the Vatican Museum I look intensely at those artists who fascinated him. What did Velazquez think when he came to the halls of Raphael and the Sistine Chapel, when he first faced the masterpieces of Caravaggio? It’s amazing the fascination that these works still produce today. I like to imagine when he met his Italian contemporaries. The art he was just discovering, those have had around

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