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'L'Aurora' di Guido Reni, 1613-1614




interior and exterior 

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  the Collection  ·  the Frescoes  
L'Aurora - by Guido Reni
"L'Aurora" by Guido Reni
n the ceiling of the big central hall you can admire the "L'Aurora" fresco, painted by Guido Reni between 1613 and 1614, to decorate the ceiling of the Casino of the same name, which has become one of the most famous and frequently copied works in the history of art and has never ceased to be famous during about five hundred years.

Guido Reni painted the fresco, inserting it in the centre of the ceiling in a big stucco frame made by Ambrogio Buonvicino, imagining it as a "displaced picture", in other words without taking into account the fact that it would be viewed from below; for this reason he did not use any perspective with the result that you can see it better if you use a mirror. Reni imagined the Sun rising from the sea, preceded by Dawn flying through the air scattering flowers; the putto beside her is Phosphor, the morning star. The chariot of Phoebus comes next, drawn by four mettlesome horses with coats of different colours to show the different degrees of light that precede the appearance of the Sun; in the quadriga, surrounded by the "Hours", sits Apollo.
In the Casino's big central hall, beneath the ceiling, a frieze of frescoes stretches along the four walls, picked out by architectural motifs that, on the end wall, repeat those of the loggia. Here the window openings consist of three windows, the middle one is surmounted by a lunette, frescoed by Cherubino Alberti (1553-1615), with the "Putti" and the heraldic emblems of the Borghese family.
Summer - by Paolo Bril
"Summer" by Paolo Bril
Also on the back wall of the central hall, at the two ends of the frieze, are "Spring" and "Summer", two frescoes by Paolo Bril, belonging to the "Four Seasons" cycle. On the opposite wall, you can see "Autumn" on the left and "Winter" on the right.
The four frescoes nicely combine the characteristics of Paolo Bril's painting: the delicacy of the colours, the alternation of planes through lights and shadows, a careful and inquisitive observation of the details of everyday life.

The 'Triumphs' by Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630)
The "Triumphs"
by Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630)

During the months when Guido Reni was painting "l'Aurora", Cardinal Borghese commissioned Antonio Tempesta to do the two triumphs that, as friezes, adorn the two side walls of the Casino's central hall.
On the right there is the picture of the "Triumph of a Roman general being given a crown by a winged Victory". On the left is the "Triumph of Love", pictured as a Dionysian procession populated with deities, satyrs and exotic beasts.
The two friezes were imagined by Tempesta as the translation into painting of an ancient marble high relief where the artist, a very skilled painter of animals, could display all his talent.

Two smaller rooms open at the left and right sides. These halls also have frescoed ceilings: on the left Giovanni Baglione (1573-1664) painted "Renaldo and Armida"; on the right, in the other hall, Domenico Cresti, known as "il Passignano" (1558-1630) frescoed "The battle of Armida".

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