Saturday, March 1, 2014

Villa Farnesina

We were given an incredible tour of the Villa Farnesina, an early 16th-century villa (built by Agostino Chigi -- it was later acquired by the Farnese family, whose Palazzo Farnese gets much more attention) that some consider a peak monument of the Renaissance in Rome, by Mari Yoko Hara, a fellow at the Academy and an  expert on the under-appreciated architect and artist Baldassarre Peruzzi.

The photos of the frescoes don't do justice to the remarkable illusion conveyed but the painting.  I have never seen a painting this convincing, where I knew (after being told by Yoko) that the architectural elements of the ceiling were in fact simply painted on, but still didn't quite believe it.  Apparently, I am in good company:  Yoko related the story of a famous artist who remained stalwartly unconvinced.  But be assured:  everything you see (save for the few gold ornaments) is painted.

A curious and fascinating element of the Villa Farnesina is the graffiti left by the invading armies from the north in 1528.

One the image of an imagined tower for St. Peter's Basilica is scrawled "Babylon."

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