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Lombard painter. From the lost fresco with the allegory of Asia by Andrea Appiani

From the lost fresco with the allegory of Asia by Andrea Appiani (Milan, 1754-1817)
First quarter of the nineteenth century.
Already Pandora Old Master

Description:

Allegory of Asia: a cassocked woman, with a blue cloth edged with gold, is lying on a triclinium, in her right hand she holds a crown of flowers; her gaze is turned upwards, her head encircled by a diadem of flowers. Next to her bed there is a censer and a gilded vase carved with cherubs, filled with flowers; scattered at her feet are roses, pearl and coral necklaces.

Dimensions: 42 x 52 cm 

CODE: ARARPI0112621

Historical-stylistic analysis:

The painting is the only pictorial testimony known to us of a fresco painted by Andrea Appiani for one of the frescoed vaults of the Royal Palace in Milan in 1809, which were lost during the bombings of August 1943. The Sala dei Principi, later named Sala of the Audience, was, in fact, frescoed with a central medallion depicting Vulcan and Minerva showing Clio the historiated shield; around it there were, within rectangles, four allegorical figures to represent the different parts of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa and America. 

They are depicted as female figures accompanied by attributes which, according to the time, were identifying and peculiar to the continent. Asia, in fact, is softly lying on an armchair, her head encircled by a precious diadem with reference to the wealth of the East, as well as the blue cloth with gold quilt that rests on her legs; also the censer recalls a typical product of this area.
If unfortunately today the frescoes no longer exist, a detailed description is offered by Antonio Morassi who also publishes a historical photograph for the allegory of Asia.

Another valuable documentation is provided by a drawing by Michele Bisi, preserved today at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan. It belonged to a group of drawings made with the aim of deriving engravings, a project that was never completed.

Bibliography:

  • G. Beretta, Opere di Andrea Appiani, Milano, 1848, pp. 271-272; (https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=8dc0OY-qo-8C&pg= GBS.PA272&hl=it)
  • A. Morassi, , Roma, 1936, pp. 17, 44;
  • A. Cera, La pittura neoclassica in Italia, Milano, 1987, fig. 54;
  • A. Zanchi, Andrea Appiani, Bologna, 1995, figg. 8-11.
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