Baroque culture transforms and attributes new functions to objects. This is not a simple frame, but in fact hosts a mythological scene in dialogue with the painting it contains. On either side of the picture, the Greek goddesses Hera and Athena await the result of a beauty contest. At the top right the shepherd Paris, judge of the competition, indicates the winner: Venus, or the figure portrayed in the painting. Perhaps originally the frame contained a mirror. Each spectator would thus become, looking at the work, the temporary protagonist of the narration.
Guido Reni was recognized by his contemporaries as a "divine" artist. His works embodied, in the Europe of the time, a perfect ideal of beauty. This painting presents Cupid, god of profane love, blindfolded and tied to a tree. The god of sacred love Anteros, on the opposite side, burns his rival's arrows. It is a moralizing scene that celebrates the triumph of virtuous feeling over carnal love. Already in the eighteenth century, the canvas was kept in the drawing room of Palazzo Spinola where it is still today.
In the eighteenth century, mirrors of this size were produced only in Paris. So in 1736, sparing no expense, Maddalena Doria had a large glass plate delivered to Palazzo Spinola directly from the French capital. The mirror was transported by sea and, to frame it, a large wooden structure rich in ornamental details was built in Genoa. Flowers, dragons and cherubs interact with the other decorations in the room and transform a piece of furniture into a sculpture masterpiece.
The sacred subject that gives the title to the large canvas is represented at the bottom of the painting, while in the foreground, the scene is dominated by the caravan of animals and objects, led by the servant facing the viewer. The work shows the ability of Grechetto, a highly cultured painter with an unmistakable stylistic code, in rendering this type of subject. It was purchased by Ansaldo Pallavicino in 1652 together with other works by the painter, the day after the nobleman's transfer to Palazzo di Pellicceria.
Bernardo Strozzi is one of the great protagonists of Genoese painting. A master of colour, an artist with a rapid and full-bodied brushstroke, Strozzi also achieved great success outside Liguria, ending his days in Venice. This canvas, characterized by acid colors and strong contrasts of light and shadow, was painted in his youth. The expression of the Virgin lets us imagine the presence, at her feet, of the dead body of her Son. The canvas was probably kept in Palazzo Spinola as early as the seventeenth century.
Oriental porcelains were considered luxury items and as early as the sixteenth century they began to adorn the homes of European nobles. The techniques for producing porcelain remained unknown in the western world until the eighteenth century and thus oriental ceramics acquired an aura of mystery, charm and exoticism. These four vases were produced in China with the aim of being exported to Europe. The design that decorates them is composed of large buds of lotus flowers, among which appear a series of aquatic animals and insects.
It is not known when this painting became part of the Palazzo Spinola collections. The allegorical figure bears both the allegorical attributes of Fortitude, the sword and shield, and those of Justice, the globe and fasces. It is a work by the painter Domenico Piola, in which the figures of the woman and the two putti are articulated in delicate poses. The composition is the result of the experiments carried out by Piola in developing allegorical figures.
The Bolognese painter Marcantonio Franceschini was the bearer of a classical and balanced language that was much appreciated in Genoa. In this canvas, the biblical scene is represented as if it were taking place on a theater stage. Solomon, the elderly king of Israel, is dragged in front of a pagan statue. His numerous wives, young and beautiful, take advantage of his weakness and lead him to worship new divinities.
Other works on display