Giuliano da Maiano; Benedetto da Maiano
Overlooking the last and most decorated loggia between the two turrets, the study is the most intimate environment of the Palace and depicts the interior portrait of Federico, his culture, his intellectual and aesthetic choices. Although Carlo Bertelli postpones the date, traditionally the study refers to 1476, the year that appears in the inscription glorifying the Duke under the sumptuous lacunar ceiling. The latter, the work of GIULIANO and BENEDETTO DA MAIANO, bears the emblems and honors of Federico, the same ones that recur in the underlying decorations. In the upper part of the study there are 28 portraits (today only 14) of Illustrious Men attributed to the Flemish Giusto of Ghent and to “Pietro Spagnolo”, recognized by critics in Pedro Berruguete. Their presence has the exemplary function of inspiring the landlord to imitate them in their virtues. Originally they were placed in a double gallery of mullioned windows and coupled thanks to their research or professional field in a tacit dialogue of gestures. In the lower tribune, ecclesiastical personalities are depicted (where the Christian poets Dante and Petrarca also appear), in the upper one the lay personalities. The ambivalence between the sacred and the profane or Christian and pagan recurs throughout the decoration of the study and reappears in the two chapels below (the Tempietto delle Muse and the Cappellina del Perdono) and then in the Vatican in Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura. In 1631, with the death of Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, the last Duke of Urbino, the territories of the Duchy returned to the Church and the Legate Cardinal Antonio Barberini, grandson of Urban VIII, badly took the paintings, mutilating them into individual portraits and depriving them of much part of the inscriptions. The tables passed into the Roman collection of the Barberini and remained together until 1812, when 14 of them passed to the Colonna di Sciarra family who sold them to the Marquis Campana. In 1861 they were bought by Napoleon III to land in the Louvre in 1863. The 14 paintings remaining in Italy returned to Urbino in 1934. Below the paintings everything is represented in the illusionistic perfection of the inlaid perspective of the da Maiano. The three Theological Virtues are depicted, in the cabinets and on the seats the series of objects that usually furnish the studios are simulated and which here symbolize the cardinal virtues, the disciplines of the Trivium and above all of the Quadrivium, in harmony with Frederick's mathematical-scientific culture. . There is also a portrait of the prince with a house robe and a spear aimed at the ground. Having put down his armor, a symbol of his active life, the Duke can devote himself to otium, study, contemplation in the study. Great importance is given to music with the presence of musical instruments, the most represented among the objects, which refer to the Pythagorean and Platonic tradition. On the north wall appears in a cartouche the quotation from book IX of the Aeneid, "virtutibus itur ad astra" (for virtues one reaches the sky), which exemplifies the iconographic program of the studiolo as a symbol of a process of interior refinement, which is it reaches with the mediation of the virtues and the use of the intellect.