|Location||Piazza Capo di Ferro, 13, Rome|
The Galleria Spada is a museum in Rome (Italy), which is housed in the Palazzo Spada of the same name, located in the Piazza Capo di Ferro. The palazzo is also famous for its façade and for the forced perspective gallery by Francesco Borromini.
The gallery exhibits paintings from the 16th and 17th century.
Museum Cabe-Cabean "CI." A State Museum, the Galleria Spada's run by the Polo Museale del Lazio.
Hours of Operation
The Museum hours of operation are as follows: Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
It was originally built in 1540 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro. Bartolomeo Baronino, of Casale Monferrato, was the architect, while Giulio Mazzoni and a team provided lavish stuccowork inside and out. The palazzo was purchased by Cardinal Spada in 1632. He commissioned the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini to modify it for him, and it was Borromini who created the masterpiece of forced perspective optical illusion in the arcaded courtyard, in which diminishing rows of columns and a rising floor create the visual illusion of a gallery 37 meters long (it is 8 meters) with a lifesize sculpture at the end of the vista, in daylight beyond: the sculpture is 60 cm high. Borromini was aided in his perspective trick by a mathematician. The building was purchased in November 1926 by the Italian State to house the gallery and the State Council. The Galleria was opened in 1927 in the Palazzo Spada. It closed during the 1940s, but reopened in 1951 thanks to the efforts of the Conservator of the Galleries of Rome, Anchille Bertini Calosso and the Director, Frederico Zeri. Zeri was committed to locating the remaining artwork that had been scattered during the war, as he intended to recreate the original layout of the 16th-17th version of the gallery, including the placement of the pictures, the furniture and the sculptures. Most of the exhibited artwork comes predominantly from the private collection of Bernardino Spada, supplemented by smaller collections such as that of Virgilio Spada.
The museum is located on the first floor of Palazzo Spada, in the wing that used to belong to Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro. The Cardinal had built the museum over the historical remains of his family's former home that had been established in 1548.
- Room I
The room is called the Room of the Popes because of its fifty inscriptions describing the lives of select pontiffs, as commissioned by Cardinal Bernardino. It is also known as the Room with the Azure Ceiling because the ceiling is covered with a turquoise canvas divided into many little compartments marked "camerini da verno" (the local dialect camerini da verno is translated in Italian as camerini di inverno, winter cabins in English). The ceiling coffers' decorations date back to 1777.
Among the paintings in this room are:
- Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada (1631) by Guido Reni
- Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada (1631) by Guercino
- Portrait of Cardinal Fabrizio Spada (1643-1717) (1754) by Sebastiano Ceccarini
- Two Still Lifes (1714) by Onofrio Loth
- Four Ovidian mythologic scenes by Giuseppe Chiari
- Apollo and Daphne
- Latona curses the Lycians transforming them into Frogs
- Mercury entrusts Bacchus to the Nymphs
- Bacchus and Ariadne
- Four Vedute (landscapes) by Hendrik Van Lint
- Four battle scenes by Jacques Courtois
- Room II
- This room was created along with Room III. The upper part of the walls were decorated with friezes in tempera on canvas by Perino del Vaga. The other parts of the walls that were originally painted with paneling are now missing.
Among the works in this room are:
- Fresco frieze (1542) by Perino del Vaga now replaced by friezes (1635) by Andrea Gennaroli and (1636) by François Perrier
- Road to Calvary (circa 1500) by Marco Palmezzano
- Portrait of Botanist, Nobleman, and King David (1570) by Bartolomeo Passerotti
- Portrait of Violinist (circa 1515) by Titian
- Four Stories of the Old Testament by Andrea Donducci
- Some Madonna and Child depictions (16th century) by Umbrian School
- Visitation by Andrea del Sarto
- Portrait of Pope Julius III (circa 1550) by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta
- St Cristopher and St Luke (circa 1510) by Amico Aspertini
- Room III
- It is called the "Gallery of the Cardinal". It was designed by Paolo Maruscelli in 1636 and 1637 along with Room II to house the art collection of Bernardino Spada. The ceiling is beamed and French windows lead into galleries one of which has an iron railing overlooking the big garden.
Among the paintings here are:
- Frescos depicting Allegories of the Four Continents, Elements, and Seasons; Trophies and Armor; scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses in Frieze (1698-1699) by Michelangelo Ricciolini
- Allegory of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting offering gifts to Minerva, protector of Arts also by Ricciolini
- Landscape with Deer-hunt (1550-1560) by Nicolò dell'Abate
- Vestals (1670) by Ciro Ferri
- Landscapes with Windmills (1607) by Jan Brughel the Elder
- Kidnapping of Helen copy of original by Guido Reni, painted by Giacinto Campana
- Meeting of Marc Antony and Cleopatra (1702) by Francesco Trevisani
- Murder of the Innocents and Sacrifice of Iphiginea (circa 1640) by Pietro Testa
- The Astronomers (1645) by Nicolò Tornioli
- Triumph of the Name of Jesus (circa 1679) sketch for ceiling of the Gesù by Giovanni Battista Gaulli
- Death of Dido (1631) by Guercino
- Room IV
- This final room was built over a wooden gallery overlooking the big garden. The Room houses paintings by Caravaggisti.
Artworks in the museum
The most important artworks are:
- Michelangelo Cerquozzi: Revolt of Masaniello
- Giovan Battista Gaulli (Baciccia): Christ and the Samaritan
- Artemisia Gentileschi: Saint Cecily; Virgin with the Child
- Orazio Gentileschi: David with the head of Goliath
- Guercino: Portrait of cardinal Bernardino Spada
- Giovanni Lanfranco: Cain and Abel
- Giovanni Andrea Donducci (Mastelletta): Tales
- Parmigianino (school): Three heads
- Mattia Preti: Christ tempted by Satan; Christ and the Adulterer
- Guido Reni: Portrait of cardinal Bernardino Spada; Saint Jerome
- Pieter van Laer (il Bamboccio): Storm; Nocturne
Furthermore, work by:
- Peter Paul Rubens
- Albrecht Dürer
- Annibale Carracci
- Salvator Rosa
- Francesco Solimena
Guido Reni, Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada
Artemisia Gentileschi, Virgin with the Child
Parmigianino, Three heads
Titian, Portrait of musician
Orazio Gentileschi, David Contemplating the Head of Goliath
Baugin Lubin, Still-Life with Candle