Frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara
by Francesco del COSSA

The most remarkable surviving project of Ferrarese artists in the Quattrocento is the fresco cycle lining the Salone dei Mesi (Room of the Months), the main hall in the Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara, a hunting lodge enlarged by Duke Borso d'Este beginning around 1465. The frescoes are related to the calendar illustrations that appear frequently in Northern European manuscripts, but here there is a special emphasis on Borso d'Este as a wise ruler. The program, devised by a still unidentified humanist, is complex. Each month is represented at the top register by the triumphal cart of the ancient deity who presided over that month, with the signs of the related zodiac in the middle zone and the courtly activities and practical labours appropriate for that month on the bottom. Portraits of Borso and his courtiers appear in various scenes on the lower level.

The frescoes demonstrate the brilliance of Ferrarese colouring and the inventiveness of Ferrarese painters in their interpretation of the subjects. The leading masters were apparently Francesco del Cossa and Cosme Tura, with limited participation by Ercole de' Roberti and other anonymous artists.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 35 minutes):
Antonio Vivaldi: Four Seasons, op. 8 Nos. 1-4


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
View of the Salone dei Mesi
1476-84
Frescoes
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1846*700
True Color
199 Kb




Summary of the Allegory of Months
March | April, May | by Francesco del Cossa
June, July, August, September | by Cosmè Tura