Monday, October 31, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (seventh part)

Room of the Bees
Vault of the 1900s with central panel of the 1600s
Stucco frieze “Lorenzo de' Medici banishing vices” about 1800 by Francesco Massimiliano Laboureur (1767/1831)
“Bust of Commodus (180/192)” end of the second century AD
Room of the Zodiac
Vault and lunettes “Zodiac signs” of the end of 1800s by Annibale Brugnoli (1843/1915)
Frieze in bas-relief “Triumph of Caesar” 1812 by Carlo Finelli (1785/1853)
Room of the Piedmont Wallpaper or of the factories of Paul V
It takes its name from the 1750 silk wallpaper of the Ursuline Sisters of Turin, now removed
In 2006 the frieze with “Papal building works alternating with virtues” of 1610 by Ranuccio Semprevivo and Cesare Rossetti (active 1593/1620) was rediscovered
Painting “Galatea” maybe by Giovanni Andrea Sirani
Chapel of the Annunciation
1609 Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613) for Paul V Borghese (1605/21)
Altar “Annunciation” by Guido Reni (1575/1642)
Frescoes of the years 1609/10 by Guido Reni, including the famous “Madonna of sewing”
Lunettes “Annunciation to Joachim” by Antonio Carracci (about 1589/1618), son of Annibale, and “Presentation in the Temple” by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647)
Left wall “Seven putti” by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)
Room of Tapestries
Room Setup by Ignazio Perricci
Vault “Love crowns the three graces” 1877 by Cesare Maccari (1840/1919)
Four “Eighteenth-century tapestries” of the manufactory of Beauvais from a model of François Boucher (1703/70)
In the splays of the windows “Grotesque” beginning of the seventeenth century by Annibale Duranti with coat of arms of Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800/23) added later
Two splendid “Egyptian alabaster urns with lids” first century AD
Room of Mirrors
Vault “Allegory of the dance” 1876 by Ignazio Perricci
Dancing Room
Very high vault, so-called “Roof terrace of Ponzio”
It was painted by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644) and Orazio Lomi aka Orazio Gentileschi (1563/1639) and was fully repainted with the “Triumph of Italy” in 1873 by Girolamo Magnani and Cecrope Barilli (1839/1911)
The carpet is 340 m² (3,700 square feet) woven, just like those of the other rooms, in situ by a company from Turin
Gallery of Busts
Vault “Triumph of candor” 1905 by Alessandro Palombi (active since the end of the XIX/beginning of the XX century)
Five busts with ancient heads

Saturday, October 29, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (sixth part)

Room of Hercules
Coffered ceiling and frieze with trophies 1940 by Cesare Maria Crestini
Paintings over the doors “Six stories of Aeneas” brought here in 1893 from the Savoy residences:
“Aeneas sacrifices to Apollo”, “ Venus appears to Aeneas as Diana”, “Aeneas and Dido caught by the storm”, “Mercury appears to Aeneas”, “Venus deliveries the weapons to Aeneas” and “Departure of Aeneas from Carthage” 1735/38 all sublime masterpieces by Corrado Giaquinto (1703/66)
“It is with the musical theater here that the painter seems to relate more explicitly than in his other works. (...) A new aesthetic marked by the desire to affirm the seriousness of art and to restore expressive decorum starting right from the reform of opera. His characters exemplify, in terms of behaviors, a way of feeling graceful and sensitive, according to the rules of society. The Arcadian world that reigns in these paintings is made of a mixture of subtle tones in which everything is blurred and in where the epic is transformed, rejecting the extremes of tragedy and comedy” (Sara Parca)
Three tapestries from the left “Stories of Apollo”, “Stories of Minerva” and “Stories of Hercules” beginning of the eighteenth century by the Gobelins Manufactory in Paris
Hall of the Chests
It takes its name from the five chests of the sixteenth and seventeenth century
In this room Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800/23) was arrested by the French on July 9, 1809
Busts “Hector” and “Paris” beginning of nineteenth century by Pietro Fontana
Four French tapestries 1743/47 by the Gobelins manufactory in Paris
Tapestry with “History of Don Quixote” 1773 by the royal manufactory of Naples
1583/85 by Ottaviano Nonni aka Ottaviano Mascherino (1524/1606)
Loggia of Honor
The center of the Gregorian Small Palace, the oldest part of the palace built by Ottaviano Nonni aka Ottaviano Mascherino for Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85)
Ceiling “Allegory of the Arts” 1908 by Ernesto Ballarini (1845/1922)

QUIRINAL PALACE (fifth part)

Gallery of Alexander VII Chigi (1655/67)
Divided into three rooms (Yellow Room, Augustus' Room and Room of the Ambassadors) in early 1800s by Raffaele Stern (1774/1820) to create the rooms of the apartment of the Empress Marie Louise, during the transformation of the palace for the planned residence of her husband Napoleon Bonaparte, who never actually came to Rome in his life
The recent restoration work, started in 2001 and still ongoing, revealed the original fresco decoration with columns and telamons 1656/57 directed by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
Fresco “Joseph recognized by his brothers” by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
“He started under the Cavalier d'Arpino, but received the influence that would last throughout his life after a prolonged stay in Venice. He returned to Rome in 1641 and in the following two decades he used a rich palette of warm and brownish shades and created works in which the element of landscape often forms the central point of the composition. He gave his best in small paintings that reveal an idyllic and even elegiac style, absolutely personal. His masterpiece as a painter of frescoes at the Quirinal Palace reveals the specific problem of this group of artists. Again, the landscape plays a predominant part, but the organization of the painting with a composition of figures, which derives as much from Raphael as from Pietro da Cortona, shows a trend toward conciliation with the dominant classicism of the period” (Rudolf Wittkower)
Frescoes in the great frieze “Stories from the Old Testament” under the direction of Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669) who also directed the work on the frieze in the two following rooms:
Left wall:
“Joseph sold by his brothers” by Giovanni Paolo Schor (1615/74)
“Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau” by Fabrizio Chiari (about 1615/95)
“Jacob and the Angel” by Giovanni Paolo Schor
Right wall:
“Explorers of the promised land” by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606/80) from Bologna
“Passage of the Red Sea” by Jean Miel (1599/1663)
“Moses and the Burning Bush” by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi
Two tapestries “Miraculous Draught of Fishes” and “The Last Supper” 1753/64 by the Gobelins manufactory in Paris
The room was the dressing room of the new pontiff during conclaves
It was the Throne Room of Pius IX and of the King of Italy and it is now named after the “Bust of Augustus” sculpted in 1900 and placed here for Hitler's visit in 1938
Ceiling 1812 with central panel in monochrome “Prophets” 1846 by Tommaso Minardi (1787/1871)
Frescoes on the great frieze “Stories from the Old Testament”:
Left wall:
“Sacrifice of Isaac” by Giovanni Angelo Canini (1609/66)
“Exit from the ark of Noah” by Lazzaro Baldi (about 1624/1703)
“Entrance into the ark” by Giovanni Paolo Schor (1615/74)
Right wall:
“David slays Goliath” by Francesco Murgia
“Gideon squeezes out the dew from the fleece” by Filippo Lauri (1623/94)
“Victory of Joshua over the Amorites” by Guillaume Courtois aka Borgognone (1628/79)
Floor with “Mosaic with birds” maybe from Villa Adriana in Tivoli
Ceiling “Justice”, “Wisdom” and “Judgment of Solomon” about 1823 by Francesco Manno (1752/1831)
Frescoes on the great frieze “Stories of the Old Testament” 1656/57:
Left wall:
“God warning Adam and Eve” by Lazzaro Baldi and Gaspard Dughet (1615/75)
“Expulsion from Paradise” by Bartolomeo Colombo
“Sacrifices of Cain and Abel” by Filippo Lauri (1623/94) and Gaspard Dughet
Right wall:
“Judgment of Solomon” by Carlo Cesi (1626/86)
“Ciro frees the Israelites from captivity in Babylon” by Ciro Ferri (1634/89)
“Annunciation” by Lazzaro Baldi (about 1624/1703)
Among the paintings “Virtues” by Tommaso Minardi (1787/1871), fresco “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) which was covered in the Savoy period and recovered only in 1925
On the sides “Angels” 1848 by the Roman Luigi Coghetti who often worked with his namesake Francesco Coghetti from Bergamo
Below “Monochrome with the church of S. Maria della Pace” revealed by the recent restoration
Large fresco “The mission of the apostles” 1864 by Tommaso Minardi
Tapestries “Stories of the New Testament” of the beginning of the eighteenth century by the Gobelins manufactory in Paris

Sunday, October 23, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (fourth part)

Room of the Flood or Carracci’s Room
Designed by Carlo Maderno
Vault painted in the mid-nineteenth century by Annibale Angelini (1812/84) and Alessandro Mantovani
Frieze “Stories of the Old Testament” in 1616 by Antonio Carracci (about 1589/1618), son of Annibale Carracci and by an anonymous follower of Caravaggio who also worked on the central fresco in the vault “Angels upholding the papal coat of arms”
“Bust of Commodus (180/192)” beginning of the third century AD
“Four Chinese porcelain vases” of the Kang-Hsi Dynasty (1662/1722)
Room of the Loggias
Incredible vault with false loggias 1861 by Annibale Angelini (1812/84)
Frieze and a central decoration of the vault 1616 by Bernardo Castello (about 1557/1629)
Painting “St. John the Baptist accompanied by the angel”
Room of the Bussolanti (Porters of the Pope)
Designed by Carlo Maderno
Frieze and vault by Bernardo Castello
“Stories of St. Benedict” in the frieze 1851 by Alessandro Mantovani
Room of the Balcony
Vault in stucco 1616 maybe by an unknown artist of the school of Martino Ferrabosco
“Departure of David” and “Triumph of David” maybe by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
Small Lounge of St. John
Vault 1616 with paintings added in the nineteenth century by Annibale Angelini (1812/84)
“St. John the Baptist” copy from Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520) maybe by Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546)

Monday, October 17, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (third part)

Pauline Chapel

1617 Carlo Maderno
Same size as the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican
Vault gilded in stucco with rosettes all different from each other built in 1616 by Martino Ferrabosco (active in Rome from 1606/d. 1623)
The vault should have been painted by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644) and the wall behind the altar by Andrea Commodi, the first master of Pietro da Cortona, but the project was not carried out
Monochrome frescoes on the walls “Apostles and Evangelists” 1818 by eleven painters including Tommaso Minardi (1787/1871) and Agostino Tofanelli under the direction of Raffaele Stern (1774/1820)
Four conclaves (elections of popes) took place here in the nineteenth century including the one that elected Pius IX Mastai Ferretti (1846/78)
Room of the seasons
In the vault “Seasons” and at the center “Allegory of Time” 1905 by Alessandro Palombi (active since the end of the XIX/beginning of the XX century) and Ernesto Ballarini (1845/1922)
“Bust of Gallienus (253/268)” third century AD
First Ceremonial Room
Designed by Carlo Maderno
Frieze “Stories of St. Paul” in 1616 by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644)
In the vault “The fruits of peace” 1906 by Alessandro Palombi and Ernesto Ballarini
Canvas “Chastity punishes love” by Francesco Mancini (1679/1758)
Room of the Virtues
Designed by Carlo Maderno
Frieze “Four virtues” 1616 by Cesare Rossetti (active 1593/1620) and “Landscapes” school of Paul Brill (1554/1626)
Vault mid-nineteenth century maybe by Alessandro Mantovani
Tapestry “Mercury petrifies Aglaurus” about 1550 by the Belgian school of Jean and Guillaume Dermoyen

Friday, October 14, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (second part)


In the palace there are:
261 tapestries, Italian, Flemish and French, one of the most important collections in the world
About 38,000 pieces of porcelain
About 300 pre-1800s paintings including works by:
Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546), Simon Vouet (1590/1649), Francesco Mancini (1679/1758), G.B. Gaulli aka Baciccio (1639/1709), Jacques Courtois aka Borgognone (1628/79), Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647), Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669), Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) and Pompeo Batoni (1708/87)
About 1900 paintings, drawings and sculptures from the 1800s and 1900s including:
Sculpture “Sad Peri” 1870 by Odoardo Tabacchi (1831/1905) and works by Giovanni Maria Benzoni (1799/1873), Giacomo Balla (1871/1958), Arturo Martini (1889/1947), Mino Maccari (1898/1989), Mario Sironi (1885/1961), Mario Mafai (1902/65), Giacomo Manzù (1908/91), Fausto Pirandello (1899/1975), Giuseppe Capogrossi (1900/72), Alberto Ziveri (1908/90), Felice Casorati (1883/1963) and Francesco Trombadori (1886/1961)
Porch with left wing 1589 by Domenico Fontana and right wing 1605/09 by Flaminio Ponzio
Clock with six hours in the Roman way with mosaic 1696 by Giuseppe Conti from a Carlo Maratta painting now in the storage of the Vatican Museums
Fragment of fresco “Christ in Glory” from the apse of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles by Melozzo degli Ambrosi aka Melozzo da Forlì (1438/94)
Designed by Carlo Maderno
Large frieze “Ambassadors from all over the world” and round panels “Stories of Moses” 1616/17 by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644), Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647) and Carlo Saraceni (1579/1620) with the collaboration of Alessandro Turchi aka Orbetto (1578/1649), Giovanni Antonio Galli aka Spadarino (1585/about 1653) and Fra' Paolo Novelli with the painted cornice recovered during the 2006 restoration
“The decorative frame of the frieze designed by Tassi in its abundant organization on the short walls reveals his Florentine late mannerist education, whilst the prospects that are opening in imaginary rooms on the long walls show that he was influenced by the illusionism of northern Italy. It is not easy to establish as Lanfranco and Saraceni had divided the work of figures and scenes: we are confronted with an entente cordiale (friendly understanding) between a pupil of Carracci and a follower of Caravaggio under the direction of a Roman who had studied in Florence. One can add that rarely a Caravaggio follower was considered able to carry out jobs for public frescoes of this kind” (Rudolf Wittkower)
Large lunette relief brought here from the Gregorian Chapel of the Basilica of St. Peter in 1619 with “Washing of the Feet” 1578 by Taddeo Landini (about 1550/96)

“Angels” over the lunette on the left by Guillaume Berthelot (about 1570/1648) and on the right by Pietro Bernini (1562/1629)

French tapestries “Cupid and Psyche” and “Don Quixote” of the eighteen century

“Coat of arms of Italian cities” about 1880 by Gaetano Lodi
In the splays of the windows “Grotesque” by Annibale Duranti

Thursday, October 13, 2016

QUIRINAL PALACE (first part)


1573/77 begun by Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91) as the summer residence of the popes
It was built over the demolished fifteenth-century villa of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa which had later belonged to Orazio Farnese, nephew of Paul III (1534/49), and to Cardinal Ippolito d'Este
1578/85 continued by Ottaviano Nonni aka Ottaviano Mascherino (1524/1606), who designed the so-called PALAZZINA GREGORIANA (Gregorian Small Palace) for Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85)
It would later be used as accommodation, first for the kings of Italy and later for the Presidents of the Republic
Under Alexander VII Chigi (1655/67) Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669) directed the decorations in the Gallery of Alexander VII
It was the PAPAL RESIDENCE for 278 years, from 1592 with Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605) until 1870 when it became the residence of the Savoy family
In 1938 Adolf Hitler was a guest on the main floor of the small palace built by Mascherino under the clock tower and, for the occasion, restorations were carried out and new marble floors were made
It was built on the site of the ancient TEMPLE OF SALUS
1589 Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) for Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90)
1609/11 Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613) for Paul V Borghese (1605/21)
1615/17 Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) also for Paul V, in place of the deceased Flaminio Ponzio
1626 Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44)
1615 PORTAL by Carlo Maderno
1638 BENEDICTION LOGGIA by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
“Statue of St. Peter” by Stefano Maderno (1560/1636) and “Statue of St. Paul” by Guillaume Berthelot (about 1570/1648)
Manica Lunga (Long Wing)
Begun 1659 by Bernini, continued by Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729) and finished by Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) who was also responsible for the construction, at the short north end of the wing, of a BUILDING FOR OFFICES OF THE SEGRETARIO DELLE CIFRE (Accounting Secretary) who used to take care of the diplomatic correspondence of the Holy See

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


1913/18 Garibaldi Burba (active 1903/18)
It was completed in 1928 by Arturo Larderel
Built to be the seat of the Court of Auditors, but eventually used for the function of State Printing Office
In 2010, the State Printing Office was transferred to Via Salaria 1027
There is a project to convert the most impressive wing of the building, the one overlooking Piazza Verdi, into a five-star hotel with about 170 rooms and about 300 luxury apartments with parking areas and gardens

Monday, October 10, 2016


Begun in the years 1939/41
Completed in 1952 by Pietro Aschieri (1889/1952), Domenico Bernardini (active 1939/52), Cesare Pascoletti (1898/1986) e Gino Peressutti (1883/1940) for FIAT and donated to the city of Rome to be used as a museum
Museum of Roman Civilization
Educational museum designed by Giulio Quirino Giglioli (1886/1957) and opened in 1955
In the vestibule “Bust of Giovanni Agnelli” by Edoardo Rubino (1871/1954)
FIFTY-NINE ROOMS filled exclusively with beautiful and interesting copies of original sculptures and well done and enlightening models of ancient Roman buildings
There is no original ancient piece but the fact that many of the copies are from originals that are scattered in museums all over the world, makes it unique, complete and perfect from the teaching point of view
Among the most important pieces:
“Model of Rome at the beginning of the fourth century AD” (200 m² - 2,150 square feet) by Italo Gismondi (1887/1974) in scale 1:250
Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
SIX ROOMS opened in 2004 with educational material on earth, moon, rocky planets, gaseous planets and interstellar space
Model of the Earth, its geological history and human attempts to conquer space
Model of the Moon, human missions to win it
Rocky Planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars with documentation of spacecraft Magellan, Galileo and Pioneer
Gaseous Planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
Information on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter
Interstellar Space with stars, nebulae, galaxies, and the representation of the cosmic distance scale
Multi-vision exhibit of the observation of the sky through the centuries, using the pictorial imagination of Giotto, Goya and Van Gogh and images of the Hubble Space Telescope