Pain in the Neck Grotesque

July 8, 2015 / Art & Archaeology
Assisi, Umbria

Given the relatively low vault and shallow depth of the loggia of the Palazzo del Comune (right across from Santa Maria Sopra Minerva), you really do need to crane your neck in order to appreciate the frescoed ceiling. Hence the pain. That said, everything else about this lovely work of art is a joy.


It appears that in 1556, the Apostolic Governor Marcello Tuto commissioned the painting of the vault specifying a humorous, grotesque style. Records show that a certain “Raphael pictor” (“painter Raffaello” Coda of Rimini) was paid four florins for it on August 21st, 1556.


He obviously enjoyed the job… Whether it’s the monkeys or the part-human part-griffon figures, the musicians playing and drinking around a table or the shorter satyrs pulling the tails of the larger ones, the fantastical birds or the grotesque masks, there’s enough to keep you smiling as you then continue wandering around Assisi, pain in the neck and all.




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

9 Responses to “Pain in the Neck Grotesque”

  1. marianna raccuglia

    Very nice photos and great description. I love Assisi and will be going back there in 2016.

  2. Mitti Meyers

    Bring a mirror to save you neck, like you do in he Sistine Chapel!

  3. Pat Carney Ceccarelli
    Pat Carney Ceccarelli

    How very delightful! Many thanks for this post GB……somehow I found it refreshing!

  4. Maria Ingham

    Humorous and interesting! I love Perugia but somehow I missed this super fun place. Next time.

  5. Colleen

    Super Note, GB!! The photos are outstanding too! I love this place and go often with guests. Again, well done and grazie.


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