• Artist: Palladio
  • Location: Mira,
  • Date: 1559 - 1570
This house built by Andrea Palladio on the banks of the Brenta River is decorated, on the piano nobile, by a pictorial cycle which covers the walls and the ceilings of all the rooms.
This intervention – which began as soon as the building was completed – was carried out for successive phases with the work of many painters.
Battista Franco (1510 ca – 1561) – a Venetian artist who studied in Rome, under the cultural influence of Michelangelo – was among the first few artists to begin painting at Villa Foscari, but died shortly after he began. At his side (also to later continue his work) intervenes a partner of Paolo Veronese, Battista Zelotti (1526-1578), who put himself to the test of creating a grand pictorial cycle in this house. Also present was Bernardino India (1528-1590) who worked in the smaller rooms, decorating the “grottesche” (a figurative system popular in those days discovered through the archeological researches carried out under the Roman ruins).
The decoration of the walls of the salone is regulated by an architectural partition that respects the compositional logic of Palladian architecture. Above the doors are the arts and virtues represented in grand dimensions like female characters of particular beauty.
The decoration of the stanze evokes mainly iconographic themes from the Metamorphosis of Ovidio (the myth of Prometheus, the Fall of the Giants, Bacco and Arianna).
The lunette on the walls of the main salone, on the head of the cross vaults, recount the mythological theme described by Ovidio (of the coming of Jupiter and Mercury on earth and their meeting with Filemone and Bauci).
The ceiling illustrates the myth of Astrea, the divine virgin who wanted to remain on earth when the other gods returned to Olympus, and must at the end join them when the men’s habits became corrupted because the Evil prevails over the Good.
It is probable that the iconographic choices of this decorative cycle were inspired – if not in fact predisposed – by one of Palladio’s two clients, Alvise Foscari, who had dedicated some years of his youth to teaching an Academy (The Academy of the United).