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Bacchus on his Chariot, The Toilet of Venus, Apollo and Marsyas, Darius, Sardanapalus, Ptolemy and Romulus Augustulus, The Vices, The Virtues


Domenico Parodi (Genoa, 1672–1742)
Bacchus on his Chariot
The Toilet of Venus
Apollo and Marsyas
Darius, Sardanapalus, Ptolemy and Romulus Augustulus
The Vices, The Virtues

ceiling and wall frescoes,c. 1725

Niccolò Malatto (Genoa, 1682–1727)
Illusionistic ceiling painting and decorations
fresco,c. 1725
The Gallery of Mirrors

The Latin inscription over the entrance provides visitors with an initial indication of the subject matter of the entire cycle of frescoes: “The kingdoms of the past, Assyrian, Greek, Roman and Persian, were great and now lie in ruins. Integrity, probity and moderation made them strong. Bacchus, Apollo and Venus made them weak.” Although the principal message is therefore the contrast between the pagan and Christian worlds and the primacy of the latter, the epigraph pays tribute to the civic values of the classical culture. In actual fact, while asserting the supremacy of the theological virtues, the decoration of the Gallery of Mirrors is above all a celebration of the Durazzo family, who commissioned the work, as defenders of those virtues and therefore destined to boundless authority with respect to the ancients who never knew them. Elements drawn from theIconologia of Cesare Ripa are adapted to the gallery’s decorative requirements by the artist or the author of the iconographic programme. The presence of unconventional and otherwise incomprehensible images would therefore account for the inclusion of explanatory captions.

  • Domenico Parodi
  • 1725 circa
  • affresco
  • Galleria degli Specchi