The identification of plants in the Italian works of art, both in terms of botanical systematic and about their symbolic meaning, it is a topic of great interest for its multiple applications. The recognition of different plant species within the works of art in Genoa has been addressed so far only for paintings on canvas and wood in Liguria in a time span ranging from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Examining particularly the seventeenth century - the period that identifies perhaps the moment of greatest power and wealth of the Republic of Genoa and of its ruling aristocracy - it is easy to see how one of the most rich and varied artistic productions is that of fresco painting, which was used to adorn nearly every major noble residences and the main religious buildings. Actually, the great artists of fresco, at the head of the most prosperous and rich Genoese workshops dominate the Ligurian scene and catalyze the attention of the clients, creating great decorative cycles which have in the reproduction and the use of plants for decorative purpose one of their most interesting characteristics. The possibility of reconstructing, through the study of the repertoires available to artists, the scientific, cultural and 'workshop' panorama which may have contributed to a botanical production so scientifically correct, is set up as a line of research very interesting and innovative if designed in conjunction with the study of outcomes in Liguria. It is therefore interesting to be able to reconstruct an operational framework of the art workshop in this restricted geographic area, by searching and finding the book sources, if available, also through a meticulous identification of plant species found in the fresco decorations of the period investigated; possibly, in such a way, the precise descriptive choices of an essence rather than another could be read, even as a specific iconographic and meaning intent, within the complex framework of the whole work. As part of a project on the 'culture of flowers in the Genoese Baroque' which has been recently undertaken between historians and botanists of Genoa University, we present some preliminary research concerning the vault decorated by Bartolomeo and Domenico Guidobono in the Palace Centurione-Cambiaso in Genoa, in the late seventeenth century and that one of the Aula Magna of the University of Genoa (former Hall of literary exercises of the Collegio of the Society of Jesus), painted by Gio. Andrea Carlone and Gio. Antonio Haffner in 1683. This study, currently in progress on other important decorative Genoese cycles of the same period, in addition to the identification of the species depicted, aims at a wider survey in order to define a scientific framework of botanical knowledge on the part of the artists themselves - whenever possible also through the repertoires hosted in libraries which they could consult - until to get to the possible identification of precise iconographic and semantic choices through which we could give a more complete and thorough interpretation of the whole work and of the role - perhaps too often considered secondary - of the botanical decoration.

FLOWERY VAULTS: STUDIES ON THE FLORA OF GENOESE FRESCOES OF THE 17TH CENTURY

MONTANARI, GIACOMO;MAGNANI, LAURO GIOVANNI;GUIDO, MARIA ANGELA
2015

Abstract

The identification of plants in the Italian works of art, both in terms of botanical systematic and about their symbolic meaning, it is a topic of great interest for its multiple applications. The recognition of different plant species within the works of art in Genoa has been addressed so far only for paintings on canvas and wood in Liguria in a time span ranging from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Examining particularly the seventeenth century - the period that identifies perhaps the moment of greatest power and wealth of the Republic of Genoa and of its ruling aristocracy - it is easy to see how one of the most rich and varied artistic productions is that of fresco painting, which was used to adorn nearly every major noble residences and the main religious buildings. Actually, the great artists of fresco, at the head of the most prosperous and rich Genoese workshops dominate the Ligurian scene and catalyze the attention of the clients, creating great decorative cycles which have in the reproduction and the use of plants for decorative purpose one of their most interesting characteristics. The possibility of reconstructing, through the study of the repertoires available to artists, the scientific, cultural and 'workshop' panorama which may have contributed to a botanical production so scientifically correct, is set up as a line of research very interesting and innovative if designed in conjunction with the study of outcomes in Liguria. It is therefore interesting to be able to reconstruct an operational framework of the art workshop in this restricted geographic area, by searching and finding the book sources, if available, also through a meticulous identification of plant species found in the fresco decorations of the period investigated; possibly, in such a way, the precise descriptive choices of an essence rather than another could be read, even as a specific iconographic and meaning intent, within the complex framework of the whole work. As part of a project on the 'culture of flowers in the Genoese Baroque' which has been recently undertaken between historians and botanists of Genoa University, we present some preliminary research concerning the vault decorated by Bartolomeo and Domenico Guidobono in the Palace Centurione-Cambiaso in Genoa, in the late seventeenth century and that one of the Aula Magna of the University of Genoa (former Hall of literary exercises of the Collegio of the Society of Jesus), painted by Gio. Andrea Carlone and Gio. Antonio Haffner in 1683. This study, currently in progress on other important decorative Genoese cycles of the same period, in addition to the identification of the species depicted, aims at a wider survey in order to define a scientific framework of botanical knowledge on the part of the artists themselves - whenever possible also through the repertoires hosted in libraries which they could consult - until to get to the possible identification of precise iconographic and semantic choices through which we could give a more complete and thorough interpretation of the whole work and of the role - perhaps too often considered secondary - of the botanical decoration.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/813536
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