Annibale Carracci’s ceiling frescoes in the Palazzo Farnese are considered by many to be one of the most influential Renaissance commissions in Rome. When the Bolognese artist’s love-themed cycle was unveiled in 1600 it was hailed as a masterpiece. Carracci’s mix of northern Italian naturalism and Roman idealism laid the foundation for Baroque art. Now, thanks to the combined efforts of the World Monuments Fund, the French Embassy in Italy (which occupies the palace along with the Ecole Française de Rome) and the Paris-based Fondation de l’Orangerie pour la Philanthropie Individuelle, around €1m has been allocated for the restoration of the “Carracci Gallery” frescoes. Work is expected to begin this year.
When Cardinal Odoard Farnese was looking to decorate the barrel-vaulted gallery of his lavish 16th-century palace, the cardinal’s brother, the Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Castro, recommended Annibale Carracci. In 1597 Carracci took up the commission with instructions to base his composition on the theme of the “Loves of the Gods” to mark the wedding of the Duke of Parma to the grandniece of Pope Clement VIII, Margherita Aldobrandini.
Story by Emily Sharpe