PIOLA, Paolo Gerolamo
(b. 1666, Genova, d. 1724, Genova)

Diana-Selene and Endymion

Palazzo Rosso, Genoa

The Palazzo Brignole Sale (dubbed Palazzo Rosso because of the colour of its stucco exterior) was erected between 1671 and 1679 on the prestigious Strada Nuova (present-day Via Garibaldi) in Genoa. The decoration of the palazzo was accomplished in two phases. In 1687-89 the team of Domenico Piola and Gregorio de Ferrari - with the assistance of Niccolò di Viviano Codazzi (1642-1693), Antonio Maria Haffner (1654-1732) and Sebastiano Monchi (c. 1630-1706) - painted the east wing, including the south loggia, then in 1691-92 the frescoes in the rooms of the west wing were executed by Giovanni Andrea Carlone with the assistance of Antonio Maria Haffner and Carlo Antonio Tavella (1668-1738). The quadratura painter Antonio Maria Haffner worked both for the Piola-Ferrari and Carlone teams.

The south loggia (shown in the photo) was painted by Paolo Gerolamo Piola together with Nicolò Codazzi (1642-1693), the son of Viviano Codazzi. It is one of the few surviving examples of the typology of the "room in ruins" that so delighted a Baroque society fond of surprises. In the 1680s the Piola workshop had created a variant of the type in which the supposed ruin is neither a structure from antiquity nor one from centuries past, but a fully modern one. In the loggia of the Palazzo Rosso the simulated ruin is developed out of the actual structure: isolated chunks of the plaster and the cornice have fallen. The subject is a scene with the shepherd Endymion and the moon goddess Selene-Diana. Through an imaginary opening in the centre of the vault the goddess is floating down toward her sleeping lover.

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