CRESPI, Giuseppe Maria
(b. 1665, Bologna, d. 1747, Bologna)

Apotheosis of Hercules and the Four Seasons

c. 1700
Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande, Bologna

In the Sala delle Quattro Stagioni of the Pepoli family palace, Giuseppe Maria Crespi portrayed Hercules as the owners's "patron saint," with an aureole like that of Apollo. Accompanied by Abundantia, Chronos, and the Horae, Hercules is speeding toward the Olympus on a triumphal chariot drawn by four horses. The figure of Hercules is so small and so distant that the viewer only notices him on second glance. Far more prominent and appealing are the personifications of the Four Seasons, which loom up out of the projecting cornice in the centres of the four sides in such a way that their feet are obscured. The gold-black cornice, with its three-dimensional corner cartouches, serves as a picture frame in which an inner surround of painted architecture enlivened by putti creates an imaginary oval opening.