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Flavia De Nicola
The Society for the History of Collecting-Italian Chapter, lecture (online), 29 May 2023
Publication year: 2023


EN – This lecture will present an analysis of the collection of paintings and sculptures that the Borghese family displayed at Villa Mondragone on the Tusculan hills, in Rome countryside, in the 17th and 18th Centuries. It will explore how the variable contents and set-up of the art collection reflected the family’s intentions of self-representation of their power.

Basing on unpublished archival documents, primary sources, and a new comprehensive comparison among the Borghese collection inventories, it is possible to identify the pieces once on display at Villa Mondragone, which are currently still housed at the Galleria Borghese, scattered around international museums or dispersed. By focusing on the main patrons of the Borghese family, the change of the collection contents can be traced, especially according to the Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese’s (1577 – 1633) and the Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese’s (1730 – 1800) respective visions.

The transfers of the Borghese collection pieces between the collecting seats of the family inside and outside Rome, such as Palazzo Borghese in Campo Marzio, Villa Borghese fuori di Porta Pinciana, and Villa Borghese di Mondragone, serve as signposts, indicating the connection between the family’s collecting projects on one hand, and their political, economic and social projects on the other.


  • History of Collecting;
  • Provenance Research;
  • Scipione Caffarelli Borghese;
  • Villa Mondragone.