Vault Hall of Autumn

Affresco Volta sala dell'Autunno di Domenico Piola

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Author/ School/ Dating:

Domenico Piola (Genova, 1627-1703)

Domenico Piola painted the vaults of the last two east rooms of the second noble floor of Palazzo Rosso between 1687 and 1688, as evidenced by the balances of payments
concerning him. It was the period after his return from the flight-trip undertaken in 1684, following the French bombardment of the city, which took him to various places in northern Italy and especially to Parma, where he had the opportunity to compare and update on the correct solutions his way of conceiving the painted space in relation to the architectural. This experience, and, together, the contact with Gregorio De Ferrari, his son-in-law and pupil, gave his language a looser lightness, especially in the practice of a lighter and less full-bodied use of color, which combines the taste for open space and for the composition intended rotating.
These elements can be seen in the design of the rooms with the allegories of Autumn and Winter, where Domenico made use of the collaboration of stucco plastererGiacomo Muttone and the Bolognese quadraturist Stefano Monchi.
The theme of Autumn is resolved with the traditional representation of the triumph of Bacchus. The vault depicts, immersed in a clear diffused light, the god, however, not intent, in wild festivities, but young, beardless, seized in a moment of calm tenderness when, upon arriving in the island of Nasso, met Ariadne, abandoned there by Theseus, He fell in love with her and wanted her to be his bride. The result is a painting in which drawing as a structuring element of the image gives way to the color that, through light light light light traps, shapes the bodies and spatial planes.
The Bacchic tiaso, animated and lively, is relegated to the margins of the composition: Sileno ebbro, baccanti, centauri, satiri and the animals dear to Dioniso - goats, panthers, monkeys - master lunettes and peducci with more vivid and plastic chromatic registers, in pleasant, dialoguing contrast with the vault.
The beautiful golden stucco frieze that runs along the four sides of the room, in a continuous succession of vine shoots, as well as reiterating the theme of the season, gives the inspiration for the decorative motif of the frame of the large mirror placed between the windows.