(b. 1605, Reggio Emilia, d. 1654, Padova)

View of the transept hall

Villa Selvatico Emo Capodilista, Battaglia Terme

Although work on the residential complex of the noble Selvatico family from Padua began in 1593, the construction of the villa was not completed until the 1640s. Lorenzo Bedogni, an architect and painter from Reggio Emilia worked on the construction, and he was also engaged as a painter of architectural motifs in the building. In 1649 he was joined in this decorative undertaking first by Pietro Liberi and then by Luca Ferrari, known as Luca da Reggio, who decorated the transept hall on the piano nobile. The selected theme was episodes from the life of Antenor, the mythological founder of the city of Padua.

The scenes are displayed on the walls of the vast place in four large compartments. The dado below the compartments, painted in faux marmorino, circles the perimeter of the room. Interspersed with the painted scenes are depictions of the Virtues (Prudence, Nobility, Eloquence, and Kindness), set in illusionistic niches. Beneath each painting is a cartouche framing a description in Latin of the depicted event: The Flight of Antenor from Troy; Lycaon Consecrating the Dagger of Apollo; The Victory of Antenor over Valesius, King of the Illyrians; and finally The Founding of Padua.

A fully Baroque aura pervades the cycle as a whole, in that the narrative thrust is made plain by the choice of clothing, contemporary with the artist's era - a device that transmutes the event into an up-to-date story.