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Room of the Bacchantes

Room 12

This small room takes its name from the fresco in the centre of the ceiling, which depicts three women dancing within frames of ivy decorated all around by floral motifs, garlands, festoons, and musical instruments that recall the grotesques and stuccos of ancient Roman villas. Felice Giani (1758-1823) executed it between 1782 and 1785 as a reworking of the decorations of the Domus Aurea and Hadrian’s Villa, which he visited regularly. The room hosts several Nordic works from the first half of the 16th century and others from Lombardy and the Veneto executed between the second half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth.

Particularly noteworthy among the paintings displayed are the copy of the Leda by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and the Portrait of a Gentleman by Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556), executed around 1535. Several details of the latter have led art historians to identify the figure portrayed as Mercurio Bua, an Epirean prince and soldier in the service of the Venetian Republic. The two rings on his left hand, his black attire, and his sad expression are said to reveal that he is a widower.

Works in the room


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