Hg2 : The Hedonist

Villa Farnesina

On the ground floor is the Loggia of Psyche, decorated by Raphael. The two large pictures on the ceiling are ingeniously painted to simulate tapestries stretched across the roof. The first picture shows the gods putting Psyche though various tests and the second depicts the banquet she held to celebrate her acceptance into the circle of Immortals. This is not Raphael’s best work, probably because he was too concerned with wooing Margherita Luti, the baker’s daughter (whose portrait, La Fornarina, appears in the Palazzo Barberini), and he left the painting to his friends and followers. The master redeems himself, however, with the Loggia of Galatea, who rides her seashell chariot across the waves pulled by dolphins. All lines in the painting converge to frame Galatea’s beautiful face, which is based on a Renaissance conception of ‘ideal beauty’. Upstairs is the Salone delle Prospettive decorated by Peruzzi, but most enjoyable is Chigi’s bedroom, with its sordid Renaissance nouveau-riche decorations by Il Sodoma (so named because of his sexual habits) depicting the marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxanne. Apparently the banquets thrown here by Chigi were so lavish that the gold plates from which the guests ate were hurled into the Tiber after dinner. What his guests didn’t know was that nets were in place to fish out the discarded platters ready for next week’s party.

Via della Lungara 230,
+39 06 6802 7268
Opening Times
9am-2pm. Closed Sundays.
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