Monday, February 15, 2010

Lunedi Lovelies: Il Fresco

Our home was built in the 1500's as a palace. After the war, it was broken up into 4 apartments. The home has been in the family of our landlord for over 300 years and they live in one half of the building. Luckily for us, there are still many remnants of the palace splendor. (There are also outdated bathrooms and ugly kitchen tiles but we won't talk about that.) The ceilings are almost 20 feet high, the rooms are spacious, there is gorgeous wood moulding throughout and my favorite-- the frescoes.

The ceiling in our bedroom was painted in the 1700's and to me it is like living in a museum. I love that this is the last thing I see before I go to sleep and the first thing I see in the morning. It is painted in trompe l'oeil, a technique perfected during the Renaissance. It is a french term that means "to trick the eye" and is painted to achieve a 3D effect on a flat space. On our ceiling, it looks like the sun is always shining in the window because of the way the shadows are painted.

To be more specific, it is also painted in a 17th century a tenique called quadratura that became popular when artists began to understand perspective theory. It is a technique that uses trompe l'oeil but also truly opens up a space. Andrea Mantegna is famous for Illusionistic ceiling painting such as this. Wikipedia defines it as this "The artist would paint a feigned architecture in perspective on a flat or barrel-vaulted ceiling in such a way that it seems to continue the existing architecture. The perspective of this illusion is centered towards one focal point. The steep foreshortening of the figures, the painted walls and pillars, creates an illusion of deep recession, heavenly sphere or even an open sky. Paintings on ceilings could, for example, simulate statues in niches or openings revealing the sky."

Here are links for you art history buffs. . .

Fresco in our entryway. It is a totally different style and I think it must be older than the bedroom. It is more similar to 16th and 17th century frescoes I have seen but I don't know for sure.

We still can't believe we get to live here for a few years.
(Pictures really don't do it justice. It is hard to capture it on a camera.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the floor AND the ceiling are both simply beautiful! It would be like living in a museum!