BERGAMASCO, Il
(b. ca. 1509, Bergamo, d. ca. 1569, Madrid)

General view of the Salone

c. 1560
Fresco
Villa Pallavicino delle Peschiere, Genoa

In the middle of the sixteenth century a unique series of palaces and villas were built in Genoa, by which the great families of the oligarchy that ruled the city displayed their status. The prototype for the new Genoese villas was that of Luca Giustiniani, designed in 1548 by Galeazzo Alessi. By 1556 Tobia Pallavicino had begun construction of his own villa. The so-called Peschiera was in an elevated setting in the middle of a luxurious garden directly in front of the gates of the city. The villa owes its fame not only to its architecture and location, but also to a particularly extensive decorative program of frescoes on the piano nobile.

The walls of the Salone are decorated with a rich trompe-l'oeil architecture. The point of reference here is the Sala delle Prospettive that Peruzzi realised in the Villa Farnesina in Rome.

Above the painted architectural vistas is a lavish ceiling decoration, in which five large history painting depict episodes from Homer's Odyssey. In variously divided and richly ornamented adiculae around the central image, are the five scenes, episodes from the story of Odysseus's return home, which was decided in the council of the gods:

1. Council of the Gods (in the centre)

2. Odysseus and Nausicaa

3. Odysseus in the Stone-Throwing Contest at the Phaeacian Court

4. Odysseus and Minerva

5. Odysseus Slays the Suitors in His Palace at Ithaca