Visited all the main monuments and walked the Forums and the Vatican? Well, maybe there is something you have never done and you must do at least once in your life. Visit Palazzo Barberini and Pietro da Cortona’s huge ceiling fresco for the Sala dei Palafranieri, or guardroom, originally utilized for formal meetings or banquets by the Barberini family and today one of the painting collection rooms of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica.
The Triumph of Divine Providence (1633-1639) was finished under the papacy of Urban VIII. This fresco is an exuberant crowded ceiling, where Cortona aimed to deify Urban VIII and his family utilizing complex allusions of great appeal to cultured visitors. The artist created a multiplicity of images drawing upon the antique, eliminating all the spatial references and setting his figures and scene in the empty space of a fresco which incorporates the architectural structure below, intentionally producing a chaotic ceiling, full of figures. Astonishing sections of this ceiling are the The Falling of the Giants and The Triumph of Religion and Spirituality, where Cortona showed his skills, certainly inspired by previous fresco production of the early seventeenth century, such as Annibale Carracci’s ceiling for the Palazzo Farnese in Rome.
Chaotic as it is, this ceiling is definitely worth a visit!
– Contributed by Simona Albanese, a native of Rome, a bit Kiwi and Aussie, living, travelling and moving around the world with her family, while sharing via blog her passion for art and culture.