Tuesday, March 10, 2015


1492/95 Bernardino di Betto aka Pinturicchio (1454/1513) and assistants including Antonio del Massaro aka Antonio da Viterbo or Pastura (about 1450/1516), Tiberio d'Assisi (about 1460-70/1524), Benedetto Bonfigli, Bartolomeo di Giovanni and Pietro d'Andrea da Volterra for Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503) who lived here

It was later also used by Julius II, but only until 1507 when, tired of living in the same apartment that belonged to his bitter enemy, he moved upstairs

“Pinturicchio like Perugino exploits his paintings but rather for the hedonistic taste for colorful images than for the principles of faith and instruction of the faithful. Just because the pleasure of the eyes also please the intellect, he creates with the same liveliness figures in stories of saints, mythological tales and contemporary events. It is without doubt the most secular of the painters of his time” (Giulio Carlo Argan)

“The iconographic program of the frescoes, of great doctrinal complexity, blended biblical exegesis of the early centuries with the latest hagiographic sources and hermetic currents of contemporary thought. At a formal level, a legacy of the late Gothic updated to the modern culture of perspective, overlapped to an adorned style of Spanish-Moorish origin, linked to the Valencian origins of the client” (Explanatory panel in the Room of Mysteries of Faith)

The first three rooms are included in the TORRE BORGIA (Borgia Tower) dating to the years 1492/94 and corresponding to the Sala dell'Immacolata (Room of the Immaculate Conception) upstairs


Room I – Of the Sibyls


In 1500 two assassins of Cesare Borgia killed here Alfonso I of Aragon, the second husband of Lucrezia Borgia, in his bed

Twelve lunettes with “Sibyls and Prophets” and above “Eight little stories with astronomical symbols” (with seven planets, and a discussion among astronomers and armillary sphere) by pupils of Pinturicchio including probably Antonio da Viterbo


Room II


No frescoes in this room


Room III – Of the Creed


In the twelve lunettes “Prophets and Apostles” with scrolls reproducing the verses of the Creed, maybe painted by Piermatteo Lauro di Manfredo aka Piermatteo d'Amelia (1446-48/about 1506)


Room IV – Of the Liberal Arts


Maybe it was the study of Alexander VI and the place where his dead body was exposed
“Fireplace” of the sixteenth century maybe by Simone Mosca and designed by Jacopo Tatti aka Jacopo Sansovino (1486/1570)

Remains of the original tiles in the floor

In the two vaults heraldic emblems of the Borgia family “Bull and radiant crown”

In the lunettes “Arts of the trivium” (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric) and “Arts of the Quadrivium” (geometry, arithmetic, music and geometry) with celebrities in the cultural world of the fifteenth century symbolizing the different disciplines, maybe painted by Tiberio d'Assisi (about 1460-70/1524) and Lorenzo da Viterbo (about 1444/72)

In the arch that separates the room in two frescoes with the theme of “Justice”

From the Room of Liberal Arts gateway to some small rooms including Alexander VI's bedroom and the treasury

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