Paintings in Palaces: Descriptions and Inscription

Jan L. de Jong

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explores the relationship between the accessibility of Roman palazzi and the visibility of their painted decorations on the one hand, and the subject matter of these painted decorations on the other. It is observed that sites such as the Palazzo dei Conservatori (or parts thereof) and the Vatican Palace, with a markedly public function and of relatively easy access, were in both cases decorated with paintings of a propagandistic nature in order to communicate a message as directly as possible. These paintings are accompanied by inscriptions intended to guide the beholders understanding of the depicted subjects in a very specific way, namely in accordance with the propagandistic intentions of the patron(s). Private palaces, on the contrary, accessible only to relatives and other persons from the owner’s inner circle, present a set of painted decorations that, though sometimes with uncanonical subjects, did not necessarily require explanatory inscriptions. Visitors to the palace were likely to have been familiar with the owner’s history and interests, and were therefore able to identify and understand the iconography. Otherwise the visitor’s puzzlement would have provided the palace owner with the opportunity to explain the painted subjects and impress the visitor with his knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPalazzi del Cinquecento a Roma
    EditorsClaudia Conforti, Giovanna Sapori
    Place of PublicationRome
    PublisherL'Erma di Bretschneider
    Pages101 -110
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)88-913-1477-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Mar-2018

    Publication series

    NameBollettino d’Arte


    • Palaces
    • Renaissance
    • Rome


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