(b. 1591, Cento, d. 1666, Bologna)
View of the Sala dell'Aurora1621
Casino dell'Aurora, Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome
The Casino dell'Aurora is the only portion spared from nineteenth-century demolition of the Villa Ludovisi (later Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi) in Rome. Originally the Casino, erected around 1570 and enlarged in the nineteenth century, was a three-story structure on a cruciform ground plan. During the pontificate of Pope Gregory XV Ludovisi the villa and its casino were used mainly for official functions such as dinners for the college of cardinals. The Casino was decorated by paintings on the ground floor and the second floor in the seventeenth century.
The ceiling of the central room on the ground floor was painted by Guercino depicting Aurora on Her Triumphal Chariot. This composition was a deliberate response to Guido Reni's Aurora in the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi in Rome. Guercino's coworker was Agostino Tassi who was responsible for the architecture (quadratura) painted in fresco technique. (Guercino painted in tempera instead of fresco.)
In its combination of heraldic and allegorical elements, the pictorial program in the Casino dell'Aurora anticipates the pictorial idiom later perfected by Pietro da Cortona in the Palazzo Barberini.