Frescos of Apollo by Domenichino

Frescos of Apollo by Domenichino
Frescos of Apollo by Domenichino
Anonim

In the National Gallery in London hang a series of canvases that are actually frescoes painted by the Italian artist Domenico Zampieri among the years 1611 and 1618. An artist better known as Il Domenichino and who commissioned many mural paintings, both for palatial rooms and for churches, such is the case of the frescoes in the church of San Andrea della Valle.

Frescoes by Domenichino

Domenichino Frescoes

In fact, Il Domenichino, nicknamed due to his short stature, had a lot of work throughout his life (1581 – 1641), in large part because he was one of the main disciples of Anibale Carracci, the great author of works such as the Farnese Camerino. Both were originally from Bologna, and after Anibale's death, Domenichino somehow inherited his commissions and prestige, carrying out numerous works in Rome and receiving many future artists in his workshop, including the French of Nicolás Poussin, who traveled to Italy to complete his training and paint works such as The Dance of Time.

We have already said that Il Domenichino was an expert painter of frescoes, a very complicated technique since the pigments are applied to the plaster surfaces that are still tender, fresh, so that paint and plaster end up chemically joining and forming a single item. For that reason, and also because of his own nature, the vast majority of his muralsthey are preserved where the artist painted them, whether they were Roman or Neapolitan churches.

Frescoes by Domenichino

Domenichino Frescoes

However, in the 18th century, it was discovered how to take these paintings off the wall and transfer them to other surfaces. A slow, expensive and dangerous process that logically only makes sense to save paintings in buildings that are in danger of ruin or have serious maintenance problems.

And this was the case of these works that originally decorated the Stay of Apollo in a pavilion erected in 1615 in the Villa Aldobrandini, the refuge in Frascati of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, an important patron of Baroque art.

There they chose to paint some scenes with Apollo, the sun god, as the protagonist, who is presented as a benefactor and protector of the arts. All this in a very complex iconographic program that suggests that the painter had the help of some scholar in mythology to advise him on each and every one of the details.

Frescoes by Domenichino

Domenichino Frescoes

Anyway, what is interesting is the baroque concept of this type of pictorial decoration. In many pavilions of this style, sometimes paintings were made on their walls simulating that they were windows through which the fictitious continuation of the gardens that surrounded the building could be contemplated, where a mythological scene was also developed.

However, there is one more twist hereNut, since the painter does not play to make us believe that they are windows, but tapestries, giving them that characteristic texture, surrounding them with a frame typical of these textile elaborations, and even simulating that someone lifts them and moves them, as we see in the last image.

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