MORO, Giuseppe del
(b. 1718, Firenze, d. 1781, Firenze)

View of the Sala di Diana

Villa Poggio Imperiale, Arcetri, Florence

Of all the Medici villas in the environs of Florence, Poggio Imperiale has the most imposing site and is also closest to the Palazzo Pitti, which became the official residence of the grand dukes in 1561. The property came into the possession of Cosimo I de' Medici in 1565. From 1618 Maria Magdalena of Austria, the wife of Cosimo II de' Medici invested a great sum on improvements made under the direction of Giulio Parigi. In 1624 the property was officially named Poggio Imperiale with reference to the grand duchess's imperial lineage. The lineage was also featured in the ambitious pictorial program of the public rooms and bedrooms which lay on the ground floor. However, the villa was stripped of its precious furnishings and art treasures from the seventeenth century under the Habsburg-Lorraine regency (1737-65).

The decoration of Poggio Imperiale started again under the reign of Peter Leopold (1747-1792) who succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Tuscany when his eldest brother became emperor as Joseph II in 1765. This decoration was intended to set a new artistic direction and propagate new standards of taste: Neoclassicism.

Three rooms in the south wing were frescoed in 1768-72 by Tommaso Gherardini and Giuliano Traballesi with the collaboration of Giuseppe del Moro, one of the best Tuscan perspective painters of the time. It was followed by the decoration of five rooms in the west wing in 1773-78. Here the frescoes were executed by Giuseppe Maria Terreni, Giuseppe Gricci, Giuseppe del Moro, Giuseppe Antonio Fabbrini, and Tommaso Gherardini.

The Sala di Diana is one of the grand duke's official rooms in the west wing. Its decoration, executed by Giuseppe Gricci (documented 1770-1785) and Giuseppe del Moro, is wholly devoted to landscape. Virtually unhindered by architectural elements, an atmospheric landscape panorama unfolds across all four walls. The painting is all-encompassing and extends upward unto the ceiling without interruption. On the ceiling above the landscape panorama is Apollo on the Chariot of the Sun, and Diana with Her Retinue.

Images showing the decorations of the various rooms in the Villa Poggio Imperiale can be viewd on the respective pages of Tommaso Gherardini, Giuliano Traballesi, Giuseppe del Moro, Giuseppe Maria Terreni, and Giuseppe Antonio Fabbrini.

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