Monday, June 27, 2016



1510/12 for Cardinal Raffaele Riario nephew of Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere (1471/84)
In the seventeenth century it hosted Queen Christina of Sweden, who founded an academy here
In 1736 it was bought by the Corsini family that had it transformed and expanded in the years 1744/58 by Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) also to house their private library and art gallery. Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini opened the library to the public
In mid-1800 it was renovated
In 1883 it was sold to the government and it became the headquarters of the ACCADEMIA NAZIONALE DEI LINCEI (National Academy of Lincei) founded by Prince Federico Cesi in 1603
Today the Accademia is the governing body of Italian culture with three sections: CORSINIANA, ACADEMIC and EASTERN
Library with about 506,000 books

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Cabinet near the Yellow Room
Beautifully frescoed walls with “Landscapes and putti with banners” about 1756 maybe by Giovanni Angeloni (1740/88) and the Pozzi brothers
Room of Embroidery
“Gentlewoman with violin” by Domenico Puligo (1492/1527)
“In the portraits by Puligo there is the tendency of creating types. (...) They have that certain pose that corresponds to the convention of the time and therefore, for the specialized portraitist, it seemed the main thing” (Hermann Voss)
Tapestry Room
Large tapestry woven by the manufactures of Faubourg Saint-Marcel
“Adoration of the Magi” by the Master of the Legend of St. Barbara
This is the central panel of a triptych whose doors are kept at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This artist was active in Belgium in the late fifteenth century
Interesting in this painting a representation of S. Joseph on the left while making a mousetrap, symbolism derived from St. Augustine and common in the northern European sacred iconography that describes the Cross as a trap for the devil
Two small but important paintings: “Madonna and Child” and “Virgin of the Annunciation” by the phantasmagoric Cosmè Tura (about 1433/95)
“Deposition” and “Massacre of the Innocents” by Jacopo del Sellaio (1442/93)
“St. Augustine” and “Dead Christ Supported by the Virgin Mary and an angel” by Carlo Crivelli (about 1435/94)

Friday, June 24, 2016


Throne Room

All noble Roman families had a room dedicated to the pope with a throne facing the wall that was turned when the pope would honor the palace of one of his visits
In this room there is a portrait of the only one but nevertheless very important pope who was a member of the family, Martin V Colonna (1417/31) who did return the papal seat to Rome after the period spent in Avignon (France) in the fourteenth century
“Portrait of Martin V” copy from original by Antonio Pisano aka Pisanello (about 1390/about 1455)
“Portrait of Marcantonio II Colonna” and “Portrait of Felice Orsini Colonna” by Scipione Pulzone (about 1550/98)
Room of the Pre Renaissance Painters

“Portrait of Maria Mancini Colonna” by the German Caspar Netscher
Maria Mancini was a nephew of Cardinal Mazarin, and from being just a maid, she came to become the mistress of the king of France, the Sun King Louis XIV who fell in love madly to the point of learning Italian for her
The king wanted to marry her but in the end his uncle Cardinal did not considered it appropriate and Mary ended up marrying Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and they had three children
It seems that the Prince Colonna as he unexpectedly discovered that Mary was a virgin, commented: One would not expect to find innocence among the loves of kings
“Maria Mancini was allowed to continue to live in 'her French way', as it was then called, or to maintain an intense social life, even independently from her husband. Moreover, the couple looked close and stood out in the Roman aristocratic world, animating important theatrical and musical activity that was a magnet for the lay and ecclesiastical nobility” (Stefano Tabacchi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
“Resurrection of Christ and members of the Colonna family” 1623 by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
“Birth of the Virgin Mary” about 1635 by Francesco Cozza (1605/82)
“Madonna Enthroned” by Stefano da Verona or Stefano da Zevio (about 1374/about 1448)
“One of the most important exponents of the Courtly Gothic in northern Italy. He was active between 1425 and 1438, in Verona, where he painted frescoes, now in a very bad state (...), and the beautiful panel with the Adoration of the Magi (1435 Brera). His personality and his formation remain a problem: some documents say he was of French origin” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
Two panels “The Seven Joys” and “The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin” by the Flemish Bernard van Orley (about 1491/1542)
“Moses with the tablets of the Law” by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
“Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist”, “St. Andrew” and “St. Catherine of Alexandria” by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta (1521/80) a student of Perin del Vaga
Two landscapes by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)
“Madonna Enthroned with Child” by Bartolomeo Vivarini (1432/active until 1499)
“Holy family” by Simone Cantarini (1612/48)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Room of Landscapes

Vault “Allegory of the Battle” by Sebastiano Ricci (1659/1734)
“Ricci is the typical extrovert virtuoso of the eighteenth century and as such his splendor could look a bit superficial. Roberto Longhi spoke of his paintings that have the flavor of a skilled reportage of all the Europeans themes. But it took the easy and versatile talent of Ricci to bring Venetian art back to a new understanding of the great past and towards the synthesis accomplished by the heroic style of Tiepolo” (Rudolf Wittkower)
Two magnificent chests of sandalwood and precious stones: one in ebony and ivory with the image of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo, another maybe by Carlo Fontana (1634/1714)
“Landscapes” by Gaspard Dughet (1615/75), Crescenzio Onofri (1632/1712) and Jacob de Heusch (1657/1701)
“Antigone near the bodies of Eteocles and Polynices” maybe by Paul Brill (1554/1626)
“The deer hunting” and “Battlefield” by Jacques Courtois aka Borgognone (1628/79)
“Preaching of St. John the Baptist” by Michelangelo Cerquozzi (1602/60)

Room of the Apotheosis of Martin V

In the center of the ceiling painting “Apotheosis of Martin V Colonna (1417/31)” 1720 by Benedetto Luti (1666/1724)
“Among the students of Maratta only the distinguished Benedetto Luti from Florence, character of international renown, also known as a collector and teacher, completed the transformation of Maratta's style in an eighteenth-century style elegant and sweet” (Rudolf Wittkower)
In the ceiling near the walls: “Merit crowned by Virtue” by Pietro Bianchi aka il Creatura (1694/1740) Roman student of Luti and Baciccio
In the ceiling near the walls: splendid “Time discovers the truth” and in the corners “Allegories” by Pompeo Batoni (1708/87) among which there is an incredibly explicit and passionate sapphic kiss between Peace and War
“In the work of Batoni, in his thematic ideas, he reconstructed his love for the operatic melodrama of which he had to be an assiduous listener (...), and as a painter of mythological themes he had a preference for scenes that would lend themselves more to express a pathetic aspect (...). As in opera, where they often are not overly moved if not in words, so in Batoni’s painting, the characters express themselves psychologically in a gesture, in a tear, but the painting remains serene and full of life because of its colors: it becomes a show, a wise and skillful game content in the oblivion of all evil or simply of all the unpleasant” (Isa Belli Barsali – Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
“Madonna and Child asleep, St. John and St. Elizabeth” by Agnolo di Cosimo Tori aka Bronzino (1503/72)
“Under the influence of Michelangelo, Bronzino also carried out a total change of style, which manifested itself most clearly in the extraordinarily exalted corporeality of the naked figures, in the strong emphasis on the muscles modeled as if they were sculpture. To this he added a chromatic style, cold and hard, which increased even more the plastic impression” (Hermann Voss)
“Portrait of Onofrio Panvinio” by Jacopo Robusti aka Tintoretto (1518/94)
“Mangiafagioli (Beans Eater)” about 1584/85 by Annibale Carracci (1560/1609)
“Being able to work simultaneously on two levels, Agostino and Annibale Carracci reveal a dichotomy that from then on became more and more marked in the work of great artists and culminated in the dual activities or double aspirations of Hogarth or Goya. It is not surprising that this mentality would define the Carraccis as the ancestors of the modern caricature” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“St. Charles Borromeo” by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647)
“Rape of Europa” by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)
The color combinations are intoxicating and bring out the irresistible sensuality of the icy and curvy legs in Europe, constituting, with her breasts exposed, the element in the painting that glows more than any other with bright light
Two “Portraits of men” by Domenico Robusti aka Tintoretto (1560/1635)
“Portrait of a Gentleman” by Paolo Caliari aka Veronese (1528/88)
“Madonna with Child, Two Angels and St. John” maybe by Andrea d'Agnolo aka Andrea del Sarto (1486/1531)
“Guardian Angel”, “The Virgin of the Annunciation” and “The Archangel Gabriel” by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
“Ecce homo” by Francesco da Ponte aka Bassano the Younger (1549/92)
“Resurrection of Lazarus” and “Portrait of a Gentleman with cameo” Francesco de' Rossi aka Francesco Salviati (1510/63)
“St. Jerome Penitent” by Giovanni di Pietro aka Spagna (about 1450/1528) a pupil of Perugino to whom he owed a lot for his style
“Bust of Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna” 1651 by Orfeo Boselli (about 1600/67)
The Cardinal was the one who wanted to begin the art collection of the family
“Virgin Mary gives the scapular to St. Simon Stock” by Ippolito Scarsella aka Scarsellino (1551/1620)

Monday, June 20, 2016


Large Room

The entire decoration of the gallery is dedicated to Marcantonio Colonna II the winner of the battle of Lepanto in 1571 against the Ottoman Empire
The historical event is represented in the frescoes of the vault “Triumph of Marcantonio Colonna II” 1675/1678 by Giovanni Coli (1636/81) and Filippo Gherardi (1643/1704) with painted frame and decorative elements 1665/68 by Giovanni Paolo Schor (1615/74):
In the center rectangle “Battle of Lepanto”
In the squares next to the short sides “Council with the Doge of Venice to eradicate the Turks” and “Inauguration of the statue of Marcantonio II Colonna on Capitol Hill”
Spectacular masterpiece of the two inseparable friends from Lucca who always worked and lived together
After Giovanni Coli's death, Filippo Gherardi lived for twenty-three years and he always had a style very similar to the one he had when he worked with his friend. When he died he wanted to be buried in Coli's same grave
“The frame inspired by Pietro da Cortona unfolds a huge overlap of detail, while the central panel, strongly Venetian, confuses the eye with the almost incredible tangle of shapes, keels and masts, all surrounded by a flickering light. There is no need to emphasize further how distant is this style from Pietro da Cortona's Baroque. It is also clear that the style of Gaulli and Coli-Gherardi have little in common, since they spring from two sources: one mainly from the late style of Bernini spiritualized, the other from the hedonistic Pietro da Cortona and Venetian pictorial tradition. On the other hand, compared with the fresco by Maratta at Palazzo Altieri, Gaulli and Coli-Gherardi seem to be on the same side of the barrier” (Rudolf Wittkower)
FLOOR of the gallery made out of inlaid marble taken from the Temple of Serapis and recycled here in 1694
Four huge mirrors painted with putti by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) and flowers by Mario Nuzzi said Mario de' Fiori (1603/73) and Giovanni Stanchi aka Giovanni de’ Fiori (1608/about 1675)
“St. John the Baptist in a cave” and “St. John the Baptist preaching in a landscape” by Salvator Rosa (1615/73)
“He developed a new romantic and subjective interpretation of the natural world. Having approached the classical conception of Poussin, he conceived more and more decidedly nature as a mirror of the moods of man” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“St. Sebastian tended by pious women” by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609/81)
“Martyrdom of S. Emerenziana” and “St. Paul the Hermit” by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
Canvas of breathtaking beauty with “Mary Magdalene in Glory” by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647) who maybe also painted “St. Peter in prison freed by an angel”
“Ecce homo between two angels” by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)
“Hagar and Ishmael” and “Rebecca at the Well” by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
“Adam and Eve” by Francesco de' Rossi aka Francesco Salviati (1510/63)
“St. Francis prayer” by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
“St. Francis in prayer with two angels” by Guido Reni (1575/1642)
“Christ in Limbo” by Alessandro Allori aka Bronzino (1533/1607) a pupil of Agnolo di Cosimo aka Bronzino
“Despite the incalculable number of figures, it is not too big a board, in which the artist gave free rein to his inexhaustible repertoire of complicated rotating movements, overlapping images and perspective views. The general composition follows the Christ in Limbo by Bronzino, but goes far beyond its artificial spatial structure. The vanishing point is placed very high, so as to guide the eye into the farthest depths through the various fields of view. The result is also consistent with this procedure: a swirl teeming of twisted limbs, which makes it impossible for the eye to wander on wider perspectives” (Hermann Voss)
“Portraits” by Bartolomeo Passerotti (1529/92)
“Roman Charity” by Antonio Gherardi (1638/1702)
“Our Lady of Rescue frees a child from the clutches of the devil” by Niccolò di Liberatore aka l'Alunno (about 1430/1502)

Friday, June 17, 2016


Room of the War Column

In the middle of the room there is a column of rosso antico (antique red) marble symbol of the family
On the steps cannonball fired by the French in 1849 and left there where it fell
Vault “Apotheosis of Marcantonio II Colonna” 1700 masterpiece by Giuseppe Chiari (1654/1727)
“Madonna and Child, St. Peter and donor” by Jacopo Negretti aka Jacopo Palma the Elder (about 1480/1528)
“Rape of the Sabine Women” and “Peace between Sabines and Romans” by Bartolomeo di Giovanni (about 1458/1501)
“Venus, Cupid and Satyr” by Agnolo di Cosimo Tori aka Bronzino (1503/72)
“Here the cartoon of Venus by Michelangelo, which may have given the initial impetus to these representations plays a greater role than in the two previous versions, now in Budapest and London. (...) In this painting the attitude of Venus is very forced, and Bronzino couldn't even resist to use the eye-catching diagonal effect (the Z line drawn from the upper arm and the lower arm of Venus). But the main group, compared to the London painting, is greatly simplified and the whole composition is represented in a more clear and unified way. And this time the satyr is not an allegorical unreal figure, but a very credible being in the flesh, whose grimace on the face is so naturalistic to appear almost repellent” (Hermann Voss)
“The Night”, “The Dawn” and “Venus and Cupid” by Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio
“Narcissus at the spring” by Jacopo Robusti aka Tintoretto (1518/94) landscape background of the canvas attributed to Pauwels Franck (Paolo il Fiammingo) (about1540/96)
“Portrait of Cardinal Pompeo Colonna” maybe by Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480/1556)
“The Holy Spirit worshiped by a family” by Domenico Robusti aka Tintoretto (1560/1635) son of the more famous Jacopo Robusti aka Tintoretto
“Portrait of St. Pius V Ghislieri (1566/72)” and “Portrait of Marcantonio II Colonna” by Scipione Pulzone (about 1550/98)
“Everyone praised in the paintings of Pulzone the incredible precision in imitation of details, for example the reflection of the frame of the windows in the eyes' pupils, the accuracy of the representation of hair and so on. His real artistic qualities are of course others, especially the interpretation and casual and non-rhetoric characterization of the human personality, the noble tranquility of the naturally distinct attitude that he knew how to give to his models” (Hermann Voss)
“The Temptation of St. Anthony” maybe by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch

Sunday, June 12, 2016



The collection was put together from 1650 by Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna (his grandfather was Marcantonio II Colonna the victor of Lepanto)
It was continued from 1666 by his nephew Grand Constable Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and by his son Filippo II Colonna, who inaugurated the gallery in 1703
The building of the gallery was begun in 1654 by Antonio Del Grande (about 1625/79)
A document written by Antonio Del Grande mentions a collaboration with Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) but the active presence here of the great genius of Baroque art is not otherwise documented
Continued in the years 1693/1703 by Girolamo Fontana (1668/1701)

“It is the most spectacular work designed by Antonio Del Grande in the palace, which was gradually assuming the form of a huge complex with several courtyards, for which only in the eighteenth century, with the intervention first of Nicola Michetti, and then of Paolo Posi, there will be attempts to impose uniformity. The gallery (...) will be finished by Girolamo Fontana, but the wide body, divided into three spaces by two pairs of free Corinthian columns, demonstrates the ability of Del Grande to interpret courtly themes avoiding any rhetorical excess” (Manfredo Tafuri - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
The 210 paintings dating from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century and the about 150 sculptures mostly ancient are shown to the public for one morning a week since the seventeenth century
“Isabella Colonna Salviati” by Pompeo Batoni (1708/87)
“St. Julian Hospitaller” maybe by Pietro Bonaccorsi aka Perin del Vaga (1501/47)
“Christ Crowned with Thorns” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)
“Vision of St. Jerome” by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
“Time steals away beauty” by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
“He stands out thanks to a sensibility, become rare, for noble tranquility and grandeur. In contrast to the broken lines of the Zuccaris' school, he loves long lines that runs uninterrupted, with a distinctly melancholy ductus. In line with this approach, in him the modeling of bodies and of drapery does not show, as in his predecessors, the absolute tension toward a strong plastic fullness, but instead something consciously superficial. (...) Even in chiaroscuro, however treated with great care, he does not seek, as it happened for example in the school of Barocci, a surprising effect in patches, but he puts larger areas of well shaded tones alongside each other. Thanks to these qualities, Cavalier d'Arpino's works have an aristocratic touch” (Hermann Voss)

Saturday, June 11, 2016



“Four views of the Villa di Capodimonte in Naples” 1840 by Annibale Angelini (1812/84)
St. Charles Borromeo lived here in the 60s of the sixteenth century
Family portraits including “Felice Orsini” by Scipione Pulzone (about 1550/98)
“Roman Landscapes” by Gaspar van Wittel (1653/1736)
Canvas “Landscape with Judgement of Paris” by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) and Gaspard Dughet (1615/75)
Nine small works by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568/1625)
“Self Portrait” 1558 by Sofonisba Anguissola (about 1531/1626) a great Italian portraitist who lived almost 100 years
“Through the eclectic education of Bernardino Campi, Anguissola soberly felt the influence of the school of Raphael and Parmigianino, through Bernardino Gatti the art of Correggio. He painted mainly portraits of solid workmanship and considerable spontaneity (...), absorbing the preponderant influence of the Venetians, not separated from resonances of the greatest masters from Emilia and from Spain” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
Fresco to celebrate the marriage of Lorenzo Onofrio and Maria Mancini “Fame, Flora, Gloria and Cupid” by Giacinto Gimignani (1606/81), Carlo Cesi and others
Ceiling “old style” by Bernardino di Betto aka Pinturicchio (1454/1513)
“Sts. Maurilio and Paul with the Abbot Nicholas Roverella” about 1474 by Cosmè Tura
“Tura studied in Padua with Squarcione: his special reaction to the new Florentine art comes from there. He meditated Donatello and Mantegna known before importing in Ferrara his relentless curiosity. A peculiar care in the contours, in the narrow folds, the unreality of the colors that are a kind of challenge, the predilection for motives carefully analyzed and redundant, shells, garlands, dragons, crystal spirals similar to steel shavings, and of course armors. All elements, in short, of an imaginative and, so to speak, heraldic antiquity” (André Chastel)
Ancient “Statue of crocodile” third century AD
“Landscapes with storm” 1667/68 by Pieter Mulier aka Tempesta (1637/1701)
Ceiling by Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626)
On the walls beautiful tromp l'oeil frescoes by Gaspard Dughet (1615/75)
Frescoes on vault and lunettes by the same artists who decorated the Vatican Library under the direction of Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) and Cesare Nebbia (1536/1614)
“Roman Floor” IV sec. AD from Bovillae