VITTORIA, Alessandro
(b. 1525, Trento, d. 1608, Venezia)

Vault decoration

1551-53
Stucco
Sala dei Principi, Palazzo Thiene, Vicenza

The greatest Venetian sculptor of the late century, Alessandro Vittoria is documented in Vicenza in 1551 where he remained intermittently until 1553. His main project in Vicenza was the stucco decoration of rooms in Andrea Palladio's Palazzo Thiene (now Banca Popolare), where the ceilings chart the development of his decorative idiom. The earlier ones, while rich and vigorous, merely follow and articulate the architectural layout. But in the Sala degli Dei the ceiling was conceived as one large high relief, and the cartouches, garlands and figures are not only more imaginative and graceful but powerful sculptural presences in their own right. This was probably the first programme in Italy to be carried out in strapwork, while the busts of Roman historical characters in the Sala dei Principi mark the first appearance of the portrait bust in Vittoria's work.

Vittoria decorated the Sala dei Principi with eight stucco busts of Emperors and Romans with an unprecedented sense of movement.