The Palazzo Farnese is home to a beautiful, if little-known, cycle of frescoes by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), a now equally little-known 16th century painter.
In 1598 Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1573-1626) commissioned Carracci, then one of the most acclaimed artists of his day, to decorate his sculpture gallery with a series of frescoes which, inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses, celebrated the loves of the gods.
The frescoes were not completed until 1608, a year before his death, and the master was assisted first by his brother Agostino, and then by several artists from his workshop, including Giovanni Lanfranco and Domenichino.
The Palazzo Farnese was begun by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1484-1546) for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. After Sangallo's death in 1546 Cardinal Farnese, who had become Pope Paul lll (r. 1534-49), commissioned Michelangelo (1475-1564) to complete the palazzo.
Since 1874 the Palazzo Farnese has been the seat of the French Embassy.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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