CROSATO, Giovanni Battista
(b. ca. 1685, Treviso, d. 1758, Venezia)

Apollo and Allegories of the Four Corners of the World

Ca' Rezzonico, Venice

The great hall of festivities was designed to hold receptions, balls and musical entertainments and is quite original, also in terms of its size (14 x 24 metres): it is the largest existing room in a private Venetian residence. The real space of the room seems to be the centre of a larger imaginary area that extends beyond the false architecture painted on the walls. These trompe l'oeils, or the vanishing perspective of architectural elements used to artificially extend the real space, are generally attributed to Pietro Visconti, a perspective painter from Lombardy. The fresco in the middle of the ceiling and the fine monochromes at the centre of each wall, however, are by Giovanni Battista Crosato.

The fresco in the middle of the ceiling shows Apollo's Carriage rising in flight, drawn by four white horses and surrounded by a jumble of allegorical figures, to bring light to all parts of the world (indeed, representations of Europe, Asia, America and Africa appear at the sides); the latter, with mythological episodes featuring Apollo, evidently make up a kind of illustrated poem in honour of the Rezzonico family.