Hercules Room at Rome's Palazzo Venezia to be restored
Four-month-long restoration work to bring back to its original splendor the Hercules Room of 15th-century Palazzo Venezia in downtown Rome has kicked off. The room will be open to the public during the restoration as of September.
The renovation will be carried out by L'Officina, a restoration consortium directed by Paolo Castellani, an art historian at the Polo Museale Lazio, the State museums of the region around Rome.
The room is one of the most important and refined at the palace built by Cardinal Pietro Barbo in the mid-15th century, shortly before he became Pope Paul III.
''We picked this room because it has one of the palace's most interesting set of frescoes and because it represents a tassel of Renaissance art in Rome that still needs to be discovered''.
A refined man and a collector, Pietro Barbo originally used it as a regalia room.
The wooden ceiling and top part of the walls feature, among others, family crests and the representation of some of the 12 labors of Hercules, a series of episodes concerning penance tasks carried out by the great Greek hero.
Restorers Isabella Righetti and Rita Ciardi told ANSA that renovation work is urgently needed because of repeated and heavy-handed work carried out in the past.
The restorers also said dried pigments used in previous restoration works hid the artworks' original colors.
''By cleaning them, we hope to rediscover the polish of the paintings, which were supposed to look like large windows that were open towards the outside''.
Art historians have long debated on the artist's identity and many believe he probably came from northern Italy.
More than one historian has attributed the work to Mantegna, who was an apprentice of Paduan painter Francesco Squarcione.
Gabrielli said she doesn't believe Mantegna painted the frescoes.
However, she said the room is of fundamental importance ''to shed light on Roman Renaissance, which has been studied but not sufficiently examined because it has been partly obscured by the more famous Florentine Renaissance''.
Source: ANSA [July 29, 2016]