(b. ca. 1486, Castel Monaperto, d. 1551, Siena)
View of the ceiling vault1519-23
Palazzo Venturi, Siena
The Palazzo Venturi (later Palazzo Agostini then Palazzo Casini-Casuccini, now Palazzo Bindi Sergardi) is a palace in the Via dei Pellegrini, just a few steps from the Campo in Siena. Beccafumi painted here, on the ceiling in a room on the second floor, a fresco cycle with eight scenes of exemplary deeds of ancient heroes, ten medallions with scenes from ancient mythology and history, as well as twenty famous women of antiquity. The room now belongs to a private apartment.
The commission came from a member of the Venturi family. It is not clear whether Beccafumi was originally supposed to paint the walls, or at least the lunettes, in addition to the ceiling frescoes visible today. Vasari, who was the first to describe and praise the frescoes in his Vite (1550), named Marcello Agostini as the owner of the palace.
The form of the ceiling vault, with three spandrels on the long walls and two on the short ones, suggested an articulation based on a type familiar to Beccafumi from Rome, where he had studied the frescoes in the Villa Farnesina.
Besides the two central paintings there are three cycles with different themes, each of which is meant to be observed separately: ancient history in the six octagons that surround the central paintings, ten mythological depictions in the oculi, and twenty women in the lower corners of the spandrels, several of whom immediately recognizable as famous heroines of antiquity.