Frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara
by Cosmè TURA

The most remarkable surviving project of Ferrarese artists in the Quattrocento is the fresco cycle lining the Salone dei Mesi (Room of the Months), the main hall in the Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara, a hunting lodge enlarged by Duke Borso d'Este beginning around 1465. The frescoes are related to the calendar illustrations that appear frequently in Northern European manuscripts, but here there is a special emphasis on Borso d'Este as a wise ruler. The program, devised by a still unidentified humanist, is complex. Each month is represented at the top register by the triumphal cart of the ancient deity who presided over that month, with the signs of the related zodiac in the middle zone and the courtly activities and practical labours appropriate for that month on the bottom. Portraits of Borso and his courtiers appear in various scenes on the lower level.

The frescoes demonstrate the brilliance of Ferrarese colouring and the inventiveness of Ferrarese painters in their interpretation of the subjects. The leading masters were apparently Francesco del Cossa and Cosme Tura, with limited participation by Ercole de' Roberti and other anonymous artists.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 35 minutes):
Antonio Vivaldi: Four Seasons, op. 8 Nos. 1-4


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
View of the Salone dei Mesi
1476-84
Frescoes
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1846*700
True Color
200 Kb



Allegory of June: Triumph of Mercury
1476-84
Fresco, 500 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

867*1100
True Color
221 Kb



Allegory of June: Triumph of Mercury (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 216 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1129*771
True Color
183 Kb



Allegory of July: Triumph of Jupiter
1476-84
Fresco, 500 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

863*1100
True Color
223 Kb



Allegory of July: Triumph of Jupiter (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 216 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1097*770
True Color
170 Kb



Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres
1476-84
Fresco, 500 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

859*1100
True Color
227 Kb



Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 216 x 320 cm)
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1131*770
True Color
187 Kb



Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 103 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

950*300
True Color
91 Kb



Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 103 x 84 cm (full fresco: 216 x 320 cm)
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

701*860
True Color
175 Kb



Allegory of September
1476-84
Fresco, 500 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

858*1100
True Color
225 Kb



Allegory of September (detail)
1476-84
Fresco, 216 x 320 cm
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1108*770
True Color
188 Kb



Allegory of September (detail)
1476-84
Fresco
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

1126*770
True Color
152 Kb



Allegory of September (detail)
1476-84
Fresco
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

900*1075
True Color
217 Kb



Allegory of September (detail)
1476-84
Fresco
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

770*1200
True Color
205 Kb




Summary of the Allegory of Months
March | April | May | by Francesco del Cossa
June, July, August, September | by Cosmè Tura