CONSTANTINI, Ermenegildo
(b. 1731, Roma, d. 1791, Roma)

Ceiling decoration

Palazzo Borghese, Rome

The ceiling fresco in the Sala di Udienza (audience room) in the ground floor of the Palazzo Borghese is a good example of the pictorial programs of ballrooms in private Roman palaces. It was painted by the Roman quadratura painter Ermenegildo Constantini in anticipation of a wedding on 1768. It presents an allegory on the house of Borghese and the arts that fully accords with the baroque formal idiom and iconographic repertoire. With its splendid materials and grandiose forms, this ceiling reaches the height of Roman opulence. Personifications of the arts and sciences stand out against the gold background, while simulated reliefs and genii of fame in stucco frame the ceiling panel, which with its host putti and virtues celebrates the Borghese coat of arms. The shape of the frame alludes to Pietro da Cortona's ceiling in Santa Maria in Vallicella. This frame, especially characteristic of Rome, was popular both in sacred and secular contexts.

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