ALBANI, Francesco
(b. 1578, Bologna, d. 1660, Bologna)

The Phaethon Legend: Fall of Phaethon and Olympian Gods

Palazzo Odescalchi Giustiniani, Bassano Romano

In the Galleria, Albani painted the legend of Phaethon, the youth who disrupted the path of the sun. The protagonists in Albani's wall pictures are seen reacting with violent gestures and upward gazes at the central event of the fall of Phaethon on the ceiling. By contrast, the assembly of gods in heaven is comparatively static - except for the figure of Phaethon plunging earthward upside-down. Apollo has raised an arm as a sign of his sadness, and Jupiter is flinging his thunderbolt. Mercury is pointing at the tumbling youth.