Drawing, Vault of the Hall of the Eagles, Domus Aurea, Vincenzo Brenna

Vincenzo Brenna (Florence 1745 - Dresden 1814)
1776 ca.


Drawing on paper made in china, white lead and gouache; depicting the frescoed vault of the Galleria delle Aquile of the Domus Aurea. The perimeter strip is occupied by reserves inhabited by eagles and peacocks; in the innermost one, on the other hand, there are grotesque decorations. In the central reserve is represented Ariadne asleep abandoned by Theseus in Naxos, while in the lower and upper ones procession scenes and a votive offering, probably in Pomona.

Dimensions: 89 x 46


Historical-stylistic analysis:

In the 1770s, the architect and painter Vincenzo Brenna visited the rooms of the Domus Aurea, so much so that the inscription “Brenna aperuit et delineavit” is still present in the center of the vault of room 34. The artist took care of the pictorial documentation of the rooms of the Neronian domus together with the Polish painter Franciszek Smugliewcz. The drawings were translated into etchings by Marco Carloni and published in albums in 1776.

An autographed drawing preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (no. CIS 8479: 20) is known, which differs slightly in the setting of the votive scenes; they are, in fact, inverted with respect to the prints. The model from the Department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre Museum, Paris, is very similar to these in the setting, belonging to a cycle that is inspired by the album of engravings, proposing them in gouache.


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