Sunday, 11 October 2009 08:54

Palazzo Costabili detto di Ludovico il Moro

Sede del Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Published in Luoghi
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:48

The frescoes in the sala del Tesoro

The ceiling of the Sala del Tesoro in Palazzo Costabili, painted by Garofalo, assisted by many other artists, among whom Cesare Cesariano.Restoration of an important renaissance fresco by Garofalo.

The frescoed ceiling in one of the ground floor rooms of Palazzo Costabili is at the cutting edge of Italian renaissance painting. The building was built on the orders of Count Antonio Costabili and is in Via XX settembre as it is now known. The charming idea of re-creating a raised balcony under the sky reflects its close connection with a network of similar types of decoration promoted by the most prestigious courts and cities of the Italian peninsula and linked to Ferrara by political and cultural ties, especially Milan, Mantua, Venice, and Rome. Elegantly dressed people, some singing, some holding musical instruments, and their domestic animals look down from the “balconIn tehse datails, the hand of Garofalo is easily recognized. For example: the girl crowned with flowers  has a strong resemblane to the saint in the Sant’Eufemia altharpiece.y” in this fresco. There aren’t many records on the building or its decorations, but historians confirm that the current premises of the Spina National Archaeological Museum were designed by Biagio Rossetti on the instructions of Costabili. Since there is no real evidence on when the frescoes were painted, their date is set at around 1508. This is before mention is made in some recently examined papers (Fedozzi, Ghelfi) of a “ground floor room with gold decorations and painted” identified as the sala del Tesoro [In tehse datails, the hand of Garofalo is easily recognized.“treasury room”], starting from 1512. Significantly, this date coincides with that noted by Garofalo (November 1512) on the Gemäldegalerie painting in Dresden, historically known as Minerva and Neptune, in which most critics recognise the start of a neoclassical style reflecting the Raphael influence, and which became more evident in his work carried out in 1513. This style is still not manifest in the sala del Tesoro however, where the pre-neoclassi-cal style inspired by Lorenzo Costa and Perugino predominates. This is a soft style that supports the balanced exchange of glances and movements between the figures, aSaint in the Sant’Eufemia altharpiece.nd conforms well to the collection of romantic court literature. The most plausible date would therefore seem to be between 1508 and 1512, and this can be more precisely determined by making a comparison between this work and other work by the young Garofalo. This would indicate that the most plausible period was 1508 – 1509. It was actually the Ferrara man who was the main author of the frescoes, as first recognised by Girolamo Baruffaldi, who believed that the entire work had been executed by Benevenuto Tisi da Garofalo. We know for certain from the humanist Celio Calcagnini that Costabili had requested that a few famous artists be involved. Regardless of the many inconsistencies surrounding the life of the artist and architectural theorist, Cesare Cesariano, who worked in Ferrara, Parma and Reggio Emilia in the first decade of the fifteen hundreds, I would think tThese decorations, in the lunette of the ceiling, might reveal the name of other artyists who assisted Garofalo in this work.hat his authorship of some parts of the fresco could be confirmed, if compared, even after the recent restoral, with the compositional structure and features of the santi della papa attributed to him in Sant’Eufemia in Piacenza. The more recent identification of the artist Girolamo Bonaccioli, known as Gabriletto, is equally significant, and takes the number of recognised collaborators up to three. The deterioration of some areas of the ceilingmeans that it won’t be easy to increase that number, but new These decorations, in the lunette of the ceiling, might reveal the name of other artyists who assisted Garofalo in this work.details may emerge in the future from careful examination of the lunettes. There are various theories on the identities of the people looking down from the balustrade, but the idealised features of the women’s faces and the incomplete, albeit typical, condition of some of the male characters makes it hard to be sure. The one exception would seem to be the male figure with the red hat to the left of a blond youth playing the lute as it seems to have all the features of a self-portrait of the artist. Regarding the meaning behind the room, the relationship with the long poem Anteros sive de mutuThese decorations, in the lunette of the ceiling, might reveal the name of other artyists who assisted Garofalo in this work.o Amore by Celio Calcagnine is probably significant. Celio states that he composed eighteen couplets for his friend Antonio Costabili, inspired by the myth of Eros and Anteros – stoically intended as requited love - for the decoration of his “cubiculum seu dormitorium”. In fact each lunette illustrates a pair of verses and narrates the birth, various life events, and characters of Eros and Anteros.

Published in Num. 30
Monday, 15 September 2008 14:48

A Long Awaited Return

After so many years, Ferrara's Museo Archelogico Nazionale is to reopen its doors.
The task of radically restoring and restructuring Ferrara's Palazzo Costabili that began ten years ago has still not been completed, but the work has now reached a stage that will allow public access to some of the rooms - as from next autumn - of the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale, which is housed in the building.

The Museum was first opened in 1935 and right from the start it revealed a remarkable capacity to attract visitors. This was thanks to two reasons: the noble monumental building in which it is housed - better known as the "Palazzo di Ludovico il Moro", one of the masterpieces of the Ferrarese architect Biagio Rossetti - and the refined culture of Spina, the Etruscan emporium of the delta, whose extraordinary materials were shown in rooms on the first floor.

Published in Num. 4
The great ferrarese traditions of gardening, between recovery and oblivion.
Under the Estes, the art of gardening reached levels of perfection in which a syncretism of different disciplines - design, architecture, sculpture, mechanics and philosophy - led to a result that aroused the admiration of ambassadors and other illustrious guests of the Este family.

The magnificent gardens of the Castle, with its pavilion supported by marble columns, coloured inlaid floors, fountains, fruit and flowers, described by Sabadino Degli Arienti in 1497, may be seen as a cultivated reinterpretation of a medieval model that enjoyed great favour throughout the Renaissance: a regular arrangement with the pavilion in the centre, orthogonal paths and geometrical flower beds brimming with flowers, medicinal herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Published in Num. 10
Monday, 10 March 2008 10:40

Ferrara after Devolution

Giovan Battista Aleotti, a great intellectual of the Ferrarese Renaissance.
Aleotti was born into a wealthy family in Argenta in 1546. Our knowledge of him is vague and patchy. But his technical skills and the immense culture he acquired and demonstrated point to a complete and methodical apprenticeship that was probably rounded off with a degree. In 1575 Aleotti was on the payroll as engineer-architect to the court and municipality of Ferrara and, subsequently, to the Papal Government.
Published in Num. 12
Saturday, 08 March 2008 13:12

Reflections of Pompei in Ferrara

Masterpieces of the Roman era at the Palazzo Ludovico il Moro.
An exhibition of Roman works, frescoes and stucco work from patrician houses at the Palazzo Ludovico il Moro in Ferrara.
After the destruction of 89 BC, the Campanian town of Stabiae developed a residential area of luxurious houses built for a wealthy élite on the strength of its magnificent natural setting, mild climate and abundant thermal waters. There was intensive building activity which covered the area at the foot of the mountain with houses with panoramic views and the hinterland with rustic villas intended for agriculture.
Published in Num. 17