Perino del Vaga, with his team of assistants, is responsible for the entire decorative scheme of the original nucleus of the Villa del Principe, recognised by critics as one of the best and most complete fresco cycles from the first half of the 16th century in Italy. The well-matched purposes of Andrea Doria, who commissioned the work, and Perino, pupil and assistant of Raffaello in Rome, gave rise to an impressive achievement in terms of size, iconographic richness and beauty. Perino’s decorative display marked a crucial turning point in the history of Genoese art, bringing the artistic language of the Renaissance to the city.
Perino’s up-to-date style translated into images a complex iconographic scheme aimed at celebrating the figure of Andrea Doria and his family. The decorative cycle draws on sources from various facets of antique culture, from Roman history to mythology, to express the variety of aspects of the position of the man who commissioned the work, de facto leader of the Republic of Genoa, as well as admiral of Emperor Charles V.
The entire decorative cycle by Perino del Vaga is completed by rich stucco work whose execution is attributable to his workshop and the design to the master himself. The stuccoes on the vault in the Loggia degli Eroi are of outstanding importance.
The rooms added on to the original nucleus of the Palazzo by Giovanni Andrea I were also characterized by a decorative stucco cycle, commissioned by Doria to the renowned stucco artist Marcello Sparzo from Urbino, who worked at the Villa del Principe starting from 1586. The peak of this work was the decoration of the Galleria Aurea.