Friday, 31 January 2014

Villa Giovannina


One of the most frustrating things I have found while trying to "spread the word" regards Italian painted decoration, is just how damned difficult it is to actually get my hands on any photos of examples. It's like a conspiracy to hinder. There is very little on the web, you are not allowed to take photos ( with amazing exception, I found, of the Vatican museums) and any publications your can find at the end of your visit seem to go to great lengths to explain; past owners, history and every nook and cranny of the building...minus the decoration. A hugely absurd missed goal, as far as I am concerned. I mean can you imagine not noticing that you have a masterpiece on your wall or ceiling?
Anyway, I came across this lousy low-resolution picture of a ceiling in Villa Giovannina near San Matteo della Decima and thought to share anyway...along with this a very short description that came with it.

"The "Little Angels and fruit festoons" room:     A monocromatic central space frames a rosette, volutes and floral motives. The outer frieze divided into architectural frames, contain a series of delicate and delightful depictions of little angels occupied in various playful activities"

........yep, that's your lot I'm afraid!

In themselves "Little Angels"  or Putti as they are known here, do not have a specific iconological interpretation, they are primarily used for decorative purposes. However they can lend a specific iconological significance according to the surrounding elements used. I think it is important to note that this decoration was executed during the late 1800's and is not as one might believe, from an earlier period. In this case, it was likely painted in lime, a material which is fit to purpose on many levels. These architecturally developed painted ceilings were commonly commissioned until quite recently. Their purpose was not to necessarily trick the eye into seeing something else but to give greater detail to the underlining architecture and interior decor. Working with the ambiance and not against it.


Should you want to visit the site and find more information ( in Italian!) on the building and it's history here the link:   http://www.pianurareno.org/?q=node/3231/print