(b. 1559, Lucca, d. 1629, Roma)

Allegory of Felicità Eterna

Palazzo Odescalchi Giustiniani, Bassano Romano

Vincenzo Giustiniani (1564-1637) was one of the most brilliant, and knowledgeable lovers of art in early seventeenth-century Rome. He assembled a renowned collection of roughly 1.800 works of classical sculpture and 600 paintings, among them eleven of Caravaggio's most important works. He purchased a villa at Bassano Romano in 1595 which was then thoroughly remodeled and enlarged. The artists who painted there between 1595 and 1604 all worked in the Mannerist style.

The north wing of the enlarged palace was erected in 1607-09 and the painted decoration was accomplished in 1609-10. There are three rooms in the north wing, the Sala della Felicità Eterna (painted by Paolo Guidotti in 1610), the Sala di Diana (painted by Domenichino in 1609) and the Galleria (painted by Francesco Albani and assistants in 1609-10).

In the Sala della Felicità Eterna the ceiling is devoted to eternal happiness. It was painted by Paolo Guidotti, an eccentric who combined Mannerism and naturalism in a way that was both original and bizarre. The pictorial program celebrates the virtues of the villa's owner and his wife by way of personifications and Old Testament scenes.