(active 1443-1501 in Ferrara)

Decoration of the Sala degli Stemmi: frieze

Pigmented stucco
Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara

The internal decoration of the Palazzo Schifanoia has suffered greatly through neglect, abuse, and inexpert restorations carried out early in the 19th century. The Sala degli Stemmi (Room of Coat-of-Arms), adjacent to the hall which was subsequently filled with Cossa's frescoes, contains remains of a series of frescoed medallions with the Este coat of arms and the personal imprese of Borso d'Este. Most of the frescoes have disappeared, but the massive and highly elaborate stucco frieze (c. 2.5 m high) containing six sculpted, polychrome, nearly life-size, seated figures of the Virtues set within shallow niches has survived.

The decoration was begun by Domenico di Paris and Bongiovanni di Geminiano some time after April 1467 and was finished before the end of 1469. Although the contract makes no mention of the walls, the elaborate polychromed stucco decorations on the walls of the antechamber are universally given to Domenico and Bongiovanni di Geminiano.

The room was apparently used as an audience chamber. It has been suggested that Borso d'Este, when seated on his throne in this room, would have been seen as the embodiment of the missing virtue of Justice.

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