Rome and Its Influence in the 17th Century
The opulent, diverse visual culture of 17th-century Rome is the primary theme of this gallery. Seat of the papacy and center of international artistic exchange and antiquarian studies, Rome incubated many of the defining artistic movements of the period. Caravaggio produced his most influential pictures for Roman churches and private collectors. Paintings in this room and the nearby courtyard arcade exemplify a range of responses by other artists to his sensitive portrayal of emotion and expressive handling of light and shadow. Four popes and members of the papal court underwrote the ambitious sculptures created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the Vatican and churches and public squares in Rome. The study of ancient Roman art informed the rigorous classicism practiced by the erudite French painter Nicolas Poussin. Other northern European artists working in Rome drew inspiration from the Roman countryside and ancient poetry to invent an enduring type of idyllic landscape inflected with nostalgia for both the grandeur and the simplicity of antiquity.
A secondary theme of the gallery is the ascendency of Paris as an artistic capital. During this period Louis XIII, who enacts the role of the emperor in Jacques Stella’s Liberality of Titus, and Louis XIV, portrayed in a bronze equestrian modeled by Martin Desjardins, emerged as important patrons.