(b. ca. 1545, Cremona, d. 1615)

Interior view

c. 1570
Sala dei Gesta Rossiana, Rocca dei Rossi, San Secondo

The decoration of this room represents depictions of the history of the Rossi family from 1199 to to 1542. It is the work of Cesare Baglione, Jacopo Bertoia, and others.

The decoration of large halls with the deeds of the nobility and their ancestors was intended to inspire the viewer's admiration. The depiction of such events from the recent past has a long tradition. Most such cycles in the first half of the sixteenth century, however, are dedicated to a single person or event. By contrast, from the middle of the century onward this genre was increasingly devoted to the representation of dynasties.

Pragmatic reasons were behind the success of the idea, derived from Raphael and his workshop, of making mural painting that simulated tapestries. Sometimes the possibility of pulling the tapestries aside was used to integrate doors or windows into the decoration. The popularity of the tapestry motif was not based solely on formal concerns, however. It imitated the most splendid and expensive wall decoration of all, which cost many times more than a fresco painting and could be afforded by very few. Hence, particularly in large halls like those in San Secondo, this motif also contributed to their significance and emphasized the importance of the thing depicted - in this case the deeds of the family in question.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.