The Villa Farnesina is one of the most elegant statements of the entire Italian Renaissance, a masterpiece where architectural design fuses with pictorial decoration. Modelled on the great Imperial villas of Ancient Rome and one of the first ‘country villas’ in the city, many “hands” were involved in the building and decoration of the Villa. These included the great Renaissance painter Raphael – Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, one of the most famous artists of all time whom the art world is celebrating in 2020, on the 500th anniversary of his death.
The Loggia of Galatea
The Loggia takes its name from the Galatea painted by Raphael (in approx. 1514), a scene in the mythological series that embellishes the open gallery of the building. In Greek mythology, the beautiful nymph Galatea falls in love with the shepherd Acis. Her consort, the one-eyed giant Polyphemus chances upon the lovers together and kills Acis. Raphael painted the central scene of the story where Galatea speeds away on a shell chariot drawn by dolphins, amidst a throng of sea creatures. other scenes in the series were painted by Peruzzi and Sebastiano del Piombo.
Villa Farnesina, built in early sixteenth century by the Tuscan banker and Papal Treasurer Agostino Chigi, is today a museum. It is owned and managed by the distinguished Lincean Academy of Rome which has the huge task of safeguarding the restoration and maintenance of the villa and its gardens.
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