The Frescoes and the Stuccoes

Perin del Vaga , with his group of co-workers, is the author of the entire decorative system of the original unit of the Villa del Principe which was considered by the critics one of the best and all around cycles of frescoes of the Italian XVI century. From the harmony of intents between the purchaser Andrea Doria and Pierino, pupil of Raffaello,an impressive operation for complexity dimensions and beauty, was created. With great homogeneity, starting in 1529 the decoration of the inner spaces were finished in 1533 ( in time to provide a deign surrounding for the visit of Charles V that resided in the villa in the month of March of that same year), the cycle of frescoes indicated a fundamental moment of transition for the Genoese pictorial arts: It introduced, by all means, the renaissance language in the city.

The up to date stile of Pierino was translated in a complex iconography program, rich in entailments. Following the main line of the celebration of Andrea Doria and of his successful destiny, the decorative cycle used materials from different aspects of the antique, ranging from roman history to mythology to represent a variety of aspects-some of which contrasting- that connoted the position of the purchaser, Prince of the republic of Genoa and admiral of the Emperor Charles V. This is the theme that binds the decorations of the “public” spaces of the villa: from the entrance hall, in which are represented the Triumphs of Lucio Emilio Paolo, the general that fought off the Gallic from Liguria, to the Lodge where the glory of five noblemen of ancient Rome is reflected on Andrea’s ancestors, represented on the wall in the fresco of the Doria Heroes ; to the two halls, areas of main representations, one decorated with the decayed painting of Neptune that calms the seas after Enea’s Shipwreck, allusion to the power of the Doria over the seas, the other by the scene of Zeus that strikes the rebelling Giants , interpreted as an allegory of Charles V that triumphs on his enemies; and last but not least, on the southern facade on which the lost stories of the Argonauts recalled the Golden Toson decoration received from Andrea in 1531. In the antechamber of the Hall of the Giants, the hall of Roman Charity, Pierino represented a classic legend aimed to exalt the virtue of generosity.

In the private rooms, the decorations of the halls celebrate, in the Prince’s wing, the classic heroes Perseo and Cadmo  skilled in the arts of weaponry and founders of the city, and in the rooms destined to his wife Peretta Usodimare, feminine and loving themes, elicited from Ovid’s Metamorphosis or from the opera of Apuleius from which the tale Love and Psyche was drawn.
The entire decorative cycle of Pierin del Vaga is completed by a rich apparatus of stuccoes having reference to his workshops for the execution (Silvio Cosini) and to the master himself for the conception. In particular we underline the ones of the Lodge of the Heroes (inserire Link). On gthe Vault of this hall the exuberance of the lime and marble dust stuccoes, inspired by the stile of the Vatican’s Lodges and by Villa Madama, is the centre of the decorative apparatus and the elegant and complicated plaster motifs, prove  the ability gained by Peering in Rome with the study of the ancient. On the contrary the halls added to the original structure of the Villa from Giovanni Andrea I, were qualified during the 1590’s , under the order of the same prince , with a unitary decorative cycle executed in stucco by the famous stucco master from Urbino Marcello Sparzo that crowns in the vault of the Galleria Aurea (inserire link). The decorative process had to be concluded by February of 1599 for the visit of Margherita d’Asburgo, daughter of Carlo of Stiria and of the cousin Alberto Duke of Austria, headed in Spain to meet their new husbands to be, King Filippo III and his sister Isabella Clara Eugenia.