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«Potersi pregiare meglio d’ogn’altro d’esserne stato riconosciuto»: il fregio di Enea di Bartolomeo Cesi a Palazzo Fava a Bologna

Flavia Cristalli


Theme of this article is the frieze with the ten stories of Aeneas painted by Bartolomeo Cesi in Palazzo Fava in Bologna in 1598. The study analyzes every scene of the decoration from an iconographical point of view, looking at its artistic sources and taking into consideration the historical context, the commission and the inventor of the whole decoration. The frescoes by Cesi are indeed part of a bigger and more complex ornament dedicated to Virgil’s Aeneid that takes place in four rooms of the palace, three of them assigned to the Carracci and their scholars. In spite of the fact that Cesi was considered, in his time and by the other artists of Bologna, as the best painter of frescoes, and in spite of Malvasia’s comment in this regard, the frescos have not really been taken under consideration by art historians so far. My contribution is a first step in the direction of a reappraisal of Cesi’s frescoes specifically and of the study of the frieze more broadly.