Borghese Gallery’s Masterpieces Threatened by Shoddy Maintenance

Galleria Borghese. Photo by Francisco Anzola on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).
Galleria Borghese. Photo by Francisco Anzola on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

The well-being of masterworks housed in Rome’s Borghese Gallery is in peril after the museum was forced to open its windows in hopes of lowering the humidity in its galleries, the Guardian reports. The job would typically be that of an air conditioning system. However, the near-broke museum, which is home to one of the world’s most prized collection of Renaissance art, can’t afford to get their system fixed.

Due to an unseasonably warm spring, those masterworks are now being bombarded with air pollution and fluctuating humidity levels. Both could have seriously deleterious effects on the works’ condition. A portion of the museum, which holds pieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and Rubens among others, has been without air conditioning for two months. Speaking to the La Repubblica newspaper, Borghese Gallery director Anna Coliva said that they system simply wore out after years of lacking maintenance.

Coliva said that her requests for increased attention to the museums’s air conditioning system have been largely disregarded over the past three years. However, speaking to the Guardian, Rome’s head of museums, Daniela Porro said that maintenance work would begin on Monday to address the problem. She said that an expert who assessed the situation suggested it was not as grave as previous reports had implied.

Italy has been under fire in recent months due to negligence in the protection of its historical sites. Principle among those is Pompeii. Soon after taking office, Italy’s new prime minister Matteo Renzi called on the private sector to assist in funding the archaeological site. Italy released €2 million in emergency funding for the site, following the collapse of a tomb wall and an archway in the Temple of Venus caused by heavy rain. Subsequently a fresco of the goddess Artemis was chiseled off one of the site’s walls by what officials believe were petty criminals.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In