Friday, January 29, 2016


Room XVI B - Chapel

1632 Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for the baptism of a daughter of Taddeo Barberini and Anna Colonna who used to live in this wing of the palace
The floor tiles date back to the eighteenth century
Creator and supervisor of the decoration was Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669) who painted himself the splendid “Crucifixion” on the altar
“It is the only scene entirely attributable to the master. It is possible to recognize here an innovative language, able to evoke the classic models of antiquity, giving them the vitality and energy of the present time” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery - www.
“Ascension” by Pietro Paolo Ubaldini (about 1614/about 1684) and lunette “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” by Giacinto Gimignani (1606/81)
“Adoration of the Shepherds” by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) a from Viterbo and lunette “Holy Family” by Pietro Paolo Ubaldini
“Annunciation” by Giacinto Gimignani and lunette “St. Francis of Paola crossing the sea” by Pietro Paolo Ubaldini
“Holy Spirit and cherubs with the symbols of the Passion” by Pietro Paolo Ubaldini and Giovanni Francesco Romanelli
Stuccos by Simone Lagi who was often working for the Barberini family
Room XVII - Mannerist Painters

Vault: “Stories of Joseph son of Jacob” 1583 Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626) and Baldassare Croce (about 1553/1628)
“Adoration of the Shepherds” and “Baptism of Christ” about 1600 by El Greco (1541/1614)
These are wonderful and visionary sketches by the Cretan artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos
“When El Greco arrived in Rome, in 1570, was guest of one of the most influential patrons of the time, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, around whom there was a lively circle of intellectuals and artists who were a challenging company for the young painter. In Rome, the comparison with the great painters of the Renaissance and Mannerist pushed the artist to process further his style, which became more sculptural with the use of chiaroscuro. (...) The figures became elongated and slender in an unnatural manner and proportions between characters were often not respected: reconnecting to the Byzantine tradition, he painted the scene so that the audience immediately would grasp the central elements. He used strong colors and unusual hues (red blood, yellow gold), useful to characterize the most important figures, dramatically illuminated by light blows to impressive effect” (Eugenia Querci - Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Deposition of Christ” by Jacopino del Conte (about 1515/98)
“Pietà” by an anonymous follower of Michelangelo, perhaps the mysterious Master of the Manchester Madonna
“The bath of Bathsheba” about 1573 by Jacopo Zucchi (about 1542/96), formerly believed lost after the bombing of the Italian embassy in Berlin
“Beheading of St. Paul” by Rutilio Manetti (1571/1639)
“Crucifixion of St. Peter” by Ventura Salimbeni (1568/1613)
“Venus mourning the death of Adonis” by Luca Cambiaso (1527/85)
“Aware of the art of Perin del Vaga and Pordenone, but also of Beccafumi, Cambiaso softened later his forms marked by gigantic proportions and unusual foreshortening of his early works with a personal version of the experiences of Venetian painters in regard to color and lighting effects. (...) In 1583 he was summoned by Philip II for the decoration of the Escorial” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Symposium on the shore of a lake” maybe by the Bolognese Giovanni Andrea Danducci aka Mastelletta (1575/1655)
“Judith with the Head of Holofernes” by Jan Metsys or Massys (about 1510/75) son and pupil of Quentin Massys
He was accused of heresy and banished from Antwerp, the city where he was born
“Agony of Christ in the Garden” by Marcello Venusti (about 1512/79) with Christ represented twice
“St. Jerome Penitent” by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
“The art of Muziano, derived mainly to the Brescian school and in which there are influences from Veneto, is characteristic for the fusion of various elements from Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo, all of which contribute measurably to an eclectic style, very typical of the Roman culture of the late sixteenth century” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Dead Christ supported by an angel” about 1560 by the Flemish artist Jacob de Backer (about 1555/85) who lived in Rome from 1557 to 1560

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Room XVI - Portraits

Vault: “Triumph of Divine Wisdom” surrounded by nine figures personifications of her virtuous attributes: Eternity, Sweetness, Divinity, Justice, Fortitude, Charity, Holiness, Purity, Beauty and Insight 1629/33 masterpiece by Andrea Sacchi (1599/1661) for Prince Taddeo Barberini
The small stars represent the positon of the sky on the very night of the election of Urban VIII, August 6, 1623
The position of the sun on the breast of the Divine Wisdom in the center of the composition and of the great globe decentralized and almost handled by the scepter in the hands of the allegorical figure seem to leave no doubt about the awareness by Sacchi of the recent heliocentric theories of Copernicus and Galileo
“Unlike Pietro da Cortona, who conceived the allegorical fresco like a historical epic, with a main subject and many episodes, and therefore animated by groups of figures, Sacchi proposed compositions with fewer figures comparing the painting to tragedy of which structural foundations are unity and simplicity. Privileging compositions with fewer figures Sacchi followed the classical theory that considered the historical painting as a representation of human emotions, gestures, expressions: in fact, only focusing on the essential characters the artist would have a better chance of making them come alive” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“The Parnassus by Raphael was his model. He gave up illusionism and painted the scenes as if they were framed pictures, an easel painting. But he did not return to the position of Bolognese classicism, because his painting has no frame and the whole ceiling is its background. As the affinity with Domenichino cannot be neglected, his free running touch is much closer to Lanfranco's” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam” 1517 by the Flemish artist Quentin Massys (about 1466/1530)
His style in portraits explores the psychology of the characters much more than Albrecht Dürer or Hans Holbein did, who were anyway an inspiration for his art
The psychological research is alive in this stunning portrait of his friend Erasmus of Rotterdam as he is translating the letter of St. Paul to the Romans
“Henry VIII” 1540 by Hans Holbein (about 1497/1543)
“In the portrait, which espouses the physiognomy, however, there is no place for the psychological insight of the monarch, represented as a living icon of power” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Portrait of Stephen IV Colonna” about 1546 by Agnolo di Cosimo Tori aka Bronzino (1503/72)
“With the same selective rigor that inspires the haughty reserve of the characters he portrays, Bronzino lets filter in a formal and very accurate sieve distillation only the more terse colors, the most polished linear ductus, the most crystalline light. His painting is at the same time clearly allusive and anti-naturalistic, because it uses a subtly metaphoric stylistic formula. He doesn't mimic reality as it happens but a version already ennobled by artifice of an exquisite technique and the subtle evocation of rare and shiny materials. As in poetry of Pietro Bembo, the metaphor has a subliminal purpose: it locks the image in the stillness of a world perpetually pristine, it takes it away from the corrosion of time and from promiscuity with the banal mediocrity of everyday life, sealing it under the glass bell of a very high exercise in style” (Antonio Pinelli)
“An isolated figure, with that sharp look that distinguishes it from all others, observed and reproduced pictorially with rare poignancy, speaks to the audience with unprecedented strength and immediacy” (Hermann Voss)
“Portrait of Cardinal Giovanni Ricci” about 1574 by Scipione Pulzone (about 1550/98)
“Portrait of a Lady maybe Clelia Farnese” maybe by Jacopo Zucchi (about 1542/96)
Clelia Farnese was the daughter of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and the mistress of Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici
“Portrait of Francesco II Colonna” by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta (1521/80)
“Portrait of a Gentleman” about 1512 by Bartolomeo Veneto (active 1502/30)
It is an exceptional portrait of a character remaining mysterious but perhaps linked to the Gonzaga court for the motto on the medal
“Portrait of young twenty year old” by Niccolò dell'Abate (about 1510/71)
“One of the most brilliant representatives of the Emilian Mannerism, he was educated looking at the art of Dossi, Correggio and Parmigianino. With personal and refined language and vivid sense of color, he tackled themes from literature and from reality, favoring love and landscape genres” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Portrait of Cesare Cavalcabò” beginning of 1600s by Giovanni Ambrogio Figino (1553/1608) a painter who was a big influence for Caravaggio
“Portrait of a Gentleman” by Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609)
“Portrait of Sulpizia Petrucci” by Andrea del Brescianino (about 1485/1525)
“Portrait of a Gentleman” by Girolamo da Carpi (1501/56)

Monday, January 25, 2016


Room XIV - Garofalo

Vault: in the center “Creation of the World” 1769 by Laurent Pécheux (1729/1821), in the frame “Stories of Adam and Eve” Nicolò Ricciolini (1687/1772)
They replaced a fresco by Viviani destroyed the year before by a fire caused by lightning
“Circe transforming Pico into a woodpecker”, “Ascension of Christ”, “Adoration of the Magi”, “Sts. Anthony of Padua, Anthony the Great and Cecilia” and “Vestal Claudia Quinta towing a boat with the statue of Cybele” about 1535, all works by Benvenuto Tisi aka Garofalo (about 1481/1559)
“This painting celebrates the female chastity through the narration of an episode recounted in Ovid's Fasti. The Vestal Claudia, accused of infidelity, proved her innocence by moving from the mouth of the Tiber the ship carrying the statue of Cybele from Phrygia. In the ship there was the black stone as a pledge of the fate of Rome in the Second Punic War. The Vestal implored the goddess to help her and Cybele gave her superhuman strength” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Benvenuto Tisi was a friend of Giorgione, Titian, Giulio Romano, Raphael, the latter known in Rome in 1512 (...). Thanks to the influences of these artists, Benvenuto Tisi managed to bring out the unique ability to blend new soft colors of Venetian painting and the refined classicism of Raphael, so as to become one of the most appreciated painters by the kings Alfonso I and Ercole II d'Este. Vasari tells how he particularly appreciate Garofalo's ability to synthesize, even calling it 'Modern'. For fifty years then Garofalo painted, with solutions of striking originality, enchanted Madonnas, saints, children, cherubs, animals and characters that seem to come from stories by Ariosto” (Carole Dazzi -
Room XV - Painters from the Veneto Region

Vault: “Creation of Angels” by Andrea Camassei (1602/49) pupil of Domenichino. He was the favorite painter of the Barberini family
“Agony in the Garden”, “Resurrection of Lazarus”, “Massacre of the Innocents” and “Christ carried to the tomb” by Ippolito Scarsella aka Scarsellino (1551/1620)
“Agony of Christ in Gethsemane” by Leandro da Ponte aka Leandro Bassano (1557/1622) son of the more famous Jacopo Bassano
“Sacred Conversation with Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria” 1524 by Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480/1556)
“It is interesting to note the detail of the medallion hanging from the waist of the dress of St. Catherine which is one of the symbols of the symbolic significance typical of Lotto's works. The winged cherub shown is a theme dear to the painter (...). The theme of Wisdom and Justice, alluded to by the cherub with his feet on the scale, is well suited to the learned saint and is here combined with a particular assortment of clothes and jewelry for which Lotto had careful care and for which he often required a separate compensation” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Sacred Conversation” about 1528 by Giovanni Busi aka il Cariani (about 1485/1548)
“Christ and the adulteress” about 1547 by Jacopo Robusti aka Tintoretto (1518/94)
“Tintoretto did not hesitate to turn every biblical episode into a scene he could have seen in his life, nor hesitated to show in it his emotions. His concept of the human form was gigantic. The effect it must have produced on his contemporaries, and that most of his work has on us is of wonderful truth as well as of impetuous vigor and strength. The figures, although so colossal, are so full of energy and such spontaneous movement. The effects of perspective, light and atmosphere bind the figures so much that the eye adapts itself immediately to those dimensions and we are made partakers of strength and health of heroic proportions” (Bernard Berenson)
“St. Dominic penitent” by Domenico Robusti aka Tintoretto (1560/1635) son of the more famous Jacopo
“Massacre of the Innocents” by Jacopo Negretti aka Jacopo Palma the Younger (1544/1628)
“Venus and Adonis” by Tiziano Vecellio (about 1490/1576)
“Copy of the prototype in the Prado in Madrid and painted for King Philip II. The myth is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses: the scene depicts the moment when Venus in vain tries to prevent Adonis from hunting, aware of the tragic fate that awaits the young man, who shortly thereafter would be mortally wounded by a wild boar” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Lute Player” about 1510 by Andrea Solario (about 1465/1524)
“Sts. John and Bartholomew with patrons” by Giovanni Luteri aka Dosso Dossi (about 1486/1542)
“He was an elegant interpreter of the court culture of the Po Valley in the Renaissance. He worked almost exclusively in the court of the Este Dukes of Ferrara. (...) The art of Dossi has a personal aspect: the figures, burned by the sun on the compact and dense pictorial surfaces, are intended to be dramatic effects, in contrast of colors and artistic that renders them with no gradations of light and shadow” (Enciclopedia Treccani)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Room XIII - Sienese Painters and Leonardo

Vault: “God says to Abraham he will be the father of a multitude of nations” about 1612 by Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo
“The Three Fates” about 1545 Marco Bigio
“An ancient description allows to attribute the mysterious painting, long considered a work of Sodoma, to the Sienese painter Marco Bigio. The work depicts the three Fates busily spinning the destiny of men, accompanied by a large group of allegorical characters. On the right, Clotho, who presides at birth, place the thread from the spindle; on the left Lachesis spins the thread turned red to signify the physical love of maturity, which is also alluded by the young black woman with four breasts, symbol of fertility. Atropos the Fate in the center, cuts the thread of life decreeing the time of death. In the background one can see the tree of Adam and Eve, another dead tree with a bird of prey perched, and a skeleton with a scythe, the symbol of vanitas. The old man with the hourglass, Allegory of Time, holds in the fold of his dress medals with names of historical figures, such as those on the ground, over which two little boys are squabbling. The three different metals - gold, silver and bronze - allude to the different value of characters: the birds that populate the scene will pick up from the river Lethe, represented in the background, only the coins with the names of men worthy of immortal fame, and not those with the names of those who fall into oblivion” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Rape of the Sabine Women” about 1507 and “Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria” about 1540 by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi aka Sodoma (1477/1549) from Vercelli but active in Siena
“Uncertain and discussed is the origin of the nickname 'Sodoma' that appears in documents from 1512 and with which Bazzi himself signed several times. It seems however out of the question that it would have referred to the artist's sexual preferences. Although of imaginative temperament, bizarre and unconventional, he lead a life morally irreproachable, he enjoyed the esteem and friendship of the most remarkable personalities of his time and was appointed by Pope Leo X with the title of 'Knight of Christ'. The nickname (...) was probably a pseudonym that (...) seems to derive from a humorous misunderstanding in the Tuscan dialect of his accent from Piedmont ('su'nduma!' = Come, let's go!)” (Enzo Carli - Biographical Dictionary of Italian Treccani)
“Madonna and Child with St. John” about 1530 by Domenico Beccafumi (1486/1551)
“Extraordinary brightness of contrasts in a continuous vibration of light and shadow, as Sanminiatelli expressed, seeing in the work the most restless interpretation of the expressive hermetic characteristics of Leonardo” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine” about 1520 by Girolamo Genga (1476/1551)
“St. Catherine of Alexandria” about 1540 by Callisto Piazza da Lodi (1500/61)
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Elizabeth and John” by Martino Piazza da Lodi (about 1475/1530) artist who was in charge, together with his brother Callisto, of an important workshop in Lodi
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Nicholas and Catherine of Alexandria” by Bartolomeo Neroni aka Riccio (about 1500/71) in style similar to that of Sodoma

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Room XI - Raphael's Influence

Vault: “Scene of Genesis with God calling upon Adam and Eve to grow and multiply” about 1612 by Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo
“Lamentation over the Dead Christ with St. Paul and a Donor” and “Lamentation” by Giacomo Raibolini aka Giacomo Francia (1486/1557) son of the more famous Francesco Francia
“Marriage of the Virgin Mary” 1526 by Vincenzo Tamagni (about 1492/1530)
“The Holy Family with St. John” by Innocenzo da Imola (about 1484/1550)
Sculpture “Eros and Anteros” by Pierino da Vinci (about 1530/53) with the two sons of Venus, representing the carnal and the spiritual love
Room XII - Raphael

Vault: “Three angels appear to Abraham announcing the pregnancy of Sarah” about 1612 Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo
“Fornarina” 1520 by Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520) perhaps Margherita Luti, a baker's daughter of Trastevere
“No portrait is superior to the portraits of Raphael, faithful rendering of bodily and spiritual qualities. And they are faithful to the literal truth, remarked in a most ruthless light, but rebuilt with intellectual and artistic energy, to be placed, in such genre, between the constellations” (Bernard Berenson)
“Madonna and Child,” by Pietro Bonaccorsi aka Perin del Vaga (1501/47)
Panels with allegories “Pandora opens the jar of defects and Minerva reproaching Cupid” and “Madonna with Child” about 1523 by Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546)
It is also known as Madonna Hertz because it was donated to the Gallery by Henrietta Hertz in 1915
“Because of some similarity with the Fornarina, it is assumed that the young girl loved by Raphael has been portrayed here in the likeness of the Virgin Mary. Unlike the master from Urbino, however, Giulio Romano shows a female figure drawn with less pronounced and gentler features, by introducing stylistic elements that are typical of the early Mannerism. As evidence of a new and subjective interpretation of the artist, the background of the sacred scene is a domestic, simple and intimate ambience, where one can see many fine details and, in the gloom beyond the door, the candor of a little dove” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Ceres” about 1512 maybe by Baldassare Peruzzi (1481/1536)
“Triptych with the Entombment of Christ” by the Dutchman Maarten van Heemskerck (1498/1574)
He lived in Rome during the years 1532/36 documenting with accurate drawings the Roman monuments and ruins

Monday, January 18, 2016


Room X - Fiorentines

Vault: “Flood” about 1612 by Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo (1560/1620) pupil of Federico Fiori aka Barocci
The painting refers to the 1612 wedding between Mario Sforza and Renée of Lorraine, who lived on this side of the building when it used to be the main body of Villa Sforza
In the frame there are the symbols of the two families in stucco: the dolphin for Lorraine and the lion for Sforza
These rooms on the first floor are the apartment built in 1597 for Ludovico Sforza
“Mary Magdalene” about 1501 by Piero di Cosimo (1462/1521) a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, from whom he got his name and with whom he also worked in the Sistine Chapel
“Madonna with Child” by Domenico Puligo (1492/1527)
“Madonna of the girdle” maybe by Giovanni Lorenzo Larciani, formerly known as the Master of Kress Landscapes (1484/1527)
St. Thomas had a vision of the Virgin Mary who gave him the girdle as evidence which he had invoked of her Assumption to Heaven, to which he hadn't attended along with the other apostles
The story is told in an apocryphal text of the fifth or sixth century and the girdle is preserved in the Cathedral of Prato near Florence
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Joseph and Peter Martyr” and “Holy Family” about 1529 by Andrea d'Agnolo aka Andrea Del Sarto (1486/1531)
His art is a synthesis of compositions inspired by Raphael and technique which adopts the atmospheric chiaroscuro of Leonardo da Vinci
“The famous chiaroscuro of Andrea del Sarto with its smooth shades happily mitigates the hard chromatic Florentine style (...). Andrea is infinitely superior to most of his fellow Florentines for the sake of pleasing color and for pictorial harmony, even though his works, compared to those of the Venetians, however, have a look arbitrarily polychrome and coloristic. Nor should we wonder why in his compositions deep shadows give way to sudden light: Andrea is still a drawing-oriented Tuscan, who with these means seeks to increase the plasticity conquered by Michelangelo and, in the spirit of the new age, supports his efforts with contrasts of every kind” (Hermann Voss)
“Madonna and Child with St. John” by Tommaso di Stefano Lunetti (1490/1564)
This painting was inspired by a lost work by Raphael
“The fundamental matrix of his work is the manner of Lorenzo di Credi, his teacher, from whom Lunetti, according to Vasari, was able to imitate the clarity in the rendering of surfaces, polished and molded, evidenced by his widespread use of light. From the master he also took his extreme attention to detail, especially the faces, and the symmetry in placing the main figures” (Valerio Da Gai - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Friday, January 15, 2016


Room VIII - The Wandering and Visionary Renaissance Style of Pedro Fernandez

Vault: “Orpheus taming animals with music” by Camillo Spallucci (1582/1605)
“Vision of Blessed Amedeo Menez de Sylva” about 1514 Pedro Fernandez de Murcia (active 1503/23)
The painting was kept in the Church of the Hermitage in Montorio Romano in Sabina, where the Franciscan mystic had his visions
“The artist in the representation of the heavenly temple architecture is clearly inspired by Donato Bramante, author of the temple built on the Janiculum Hill, at the legendary site of the crucifixion of St. Peter, and the cave where the same Amedeo in Rome since 1472, spiritual dialogue with the Archangel Gabriel. Pedro Fernandez joined in this model the stimuli received by Leonardo, evident in the faces of some people characterized, and Raphael, in the composition reminiscent of the Dispute of the Sacrament in the Vatican Stanze” (Official Web Site Barberini Gallery -
“Weeping Madonna” by anonymous Flemish-Neapolitan artist
“St. Sebastian and St. Catherine” by the Neapolitan Francesco Pagano (1471/92)
Room IX - Details of Reality and Soul. The Northern Painters
Vault: “Orfeo ed Euridice” by Camillo Spallucci (1582/1605)
“Pilgrims on the tomb of St. Sebastian” about 1498 by Josse Lieferinxe (active 1493/1508) from Provence
The painting has also a documentary value because it shows the Basilica of St. Sebastian with a thirteenth-century ciborium now disappeared, as well as the custom of pilgrims to put their bandages in contact with the relics of the saint
“Crucifixion” maybe second half of 1400s by Simon Marmion (about1425/89)
“Nativity and Presentation in the Temple” early 1500s by an anonymous Flemish artist
“Portrait of the Bride” and “Portrait of the bridegroom” 1640 by Jan Cornelisz Verspronck (about 1607/62)
“The Flemish portraits of the seventeenth century that have a dedicated wall in the room date to a later period, but they belong to same culture of the Nordic region. The contrast of the 'non colors' black and white of the laces and of the dress emphasizes the spirit of Dutch portraiture of the period. Despite the wealth and status of the middle class clients, the characters express the moral qualities of dignity and industriousness” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Room VII - Lights and Colors in the Fog. Venetian, Lombard and Emilian Painters

Vault: “Muses with Apollo and Minerva” beginning of 1600s by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth-century
“Madonna with Child” by Niccolò Rondinelli (about 1450/1510)
“St. Jerome Penitent” 1503 by Marco Palmezzano (1459/1539)
“Christ crucified” and “Madonna with St. John the Evangelist” by the Lombard Bernardino Butinone (about 1450/1510)
“One of the most interesting personalities of Lombard painting of the time, Butinone stands out for the search of clear shapes, almost plastic, with a deep coloring, highlighted by blackish shades, for a valuable sense of matter, derived from the study of Mantegna and of the painters from Ferrara” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Portrait of a Young Man” maybe by Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480/1556)
“The inspiration to Alvise Vivarini and Antonello da Messina is evident in the geometric regularity with which the character's face is drawn by the slight movement of the head and by his gaze quietly melancholic: the painter was to become a specialist in the representation of states of mind” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -

Friday, January 8, 2016


Room VI - Florentines and other Tuscans. Refined minds and talents in the workshops

Vault: “Cherub on amphora riding waves” by Urbano Romanelli (about 1645/82)
In the upper part there is a scroll “et ultra”, the motto of Cardinal Francesco Barberini
“Madonna Adoring the Child with an Angel” late 1400s by Gherardo di Giovanni di Miniato (about 1445/97)
“Gherardo di Giovanni, who worked at the Medici court, was a painter, illustrator and musician. His interest in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, a friend of his, is reflected in the atmospheric effects of landscape and in the figure of the angel of the Madonna adoring the child. To a Nordic influence is owed a taste for details, like the Gothic church symbolically placed at the perspectival center of the composition” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Crucifixion” early 1500s by Girolamo di Benvenuto (about 1470/1524) from Siena
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Peter and Paul” by Vincenzo di Antonio Frediani (active 1481/1505) from Lucca

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Room V - Antoniazzo and Lorenzo. The Thousand Faces of the Roman School

Vault: “Ship of the Argonauts with Jason showing the Golden Fleece from Colchis” by Giuseppe Passeri (1654/1714)
“In this painting, which comes from the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Cerveteri, Federico Zeri, noting the hand of a coworker in the figure of St. Michael, of lesser quality, believed that the cross above the inscription 'Laurentius Jacobi da Viterbo 1472' would indicate that the painter's death had occurred. This remains a key work to reconstruct the figure of the painter who looks to Piero della Francesca and Melozzo as well as Ferrara paintings and Mantegna, showing the variety of influences present in Lazio painting of the fifteenth century” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Antoniazzo, still tied to tradition, was at the forefront - along with Tuscans, Umbrians, Venetians and Flemish - in combining sacred images, landscapes and portraits. He was the head of a busy workshop active in every field of artistic production: icons, images for private devotion, ceremonial apparatuses; narrative fresco cycles and altarpieces” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -

“Madonna and Child with Sts. Paul and Francis of Assisi” about 1487 by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (about 1435-40/1508)
“The conventionality of the iconography is, however, animated by the elegant architectural solution of the pink throne defined by pilasters over which there is a rich antiquarian decoration. (...) These decorative ornamentations recall the works by Andrea Bregno and his workshop in the Roman funerary monuments of the seventh and eighth decade of the fifteenth century. (...). The cartoon of the Virgin and Child would be copied in the panel with the Madonna and Sts. Francis and Anthony of Padua today at S. Antonio dei Portoghesi” (Anna Cavallaro)

Monday, January 4, 2016


Room IV - The Serene Expression and the Strength of the Umbria and Marche Painters

Vault: “Theseus receiving the skein of thread from Ariadne” by Urbano Romanelli (about 1645/82) son of the more famous Giovanni Francesco Romanelli
The fresco was damaged by a collapse in 1968 and it was restored
“Virgin Mary and Child with Four Saints” about 1468 by Niccolò di Liberatore aka l'Alunno (about 1430/1502) who painted this polyptych with tempera on canvas
“St. Philip Benizi” 1507 by Pietro Vannucci aka Pietro Perugino (about 1450/1523)
“Part of the lost altar of the Church of the Annunziata in Florence. Perugino represented the mildness of the saint with the precise shape of the face and delicate features; through the hatched coloring he put the image in relation to the natural and artificial sources of light” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“The transparency of the color and the clarity of the chromatic range give the work an extraordinary brightness” (Michela Ulivi)
“St. Peter” and “St. Michael the Archangel” by Pietro Alemanno (active 1475/98) here clearly influenced by Carlo Crivelli
Fresco fragment “Head of a Young Man” maybe by Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520)