Friday, March 11, 2011

Giovanni Battista Zelotti, Villa Godi

click on the image for much larger view

It's a little unclear whether Andrea Palladio enjoyed seeing the interiors of his buildings decorated with paint, but who cares?! This is awesome! Just look at the cast shadows thrown from the beaded molding around the door frame. Absolutely spectacular examples of wall painting.

The only thing that'd really rub old Palladio the wrong way would be the complete disregard for the architecture of the room. Zelotti's painted opening pays no attention whatsoever to the position of the actual door to the room. The trompe l'oeil columns just disappear into the door frame. It's as if Zelotti had a better idea as to where the door should have been placed than Palladio himself!

Giovanni Battista Zelotti added to the already overflowing decorations started by Gualtiero dell' Arzere in Villa Godi (Palladio's first villa), constructed in 1537. His trompe l'oeil in this, the large central salon, is more fluid and monumental than Gualtiero's, and takes on a popular theme of the time: the depiction of a human figure (presumed to be Palladio himself) in an opening or doorway.

These images are from Volume II of Antiques in Italian Interiors, which came out in 2010 from Verbavolant books. Both volumes are an incredible treasure trove of gorgeous photographs by Mario Ciampi, of interest to anyone curious to see the painted decoration of Italian villas. Highly recommended.


  1. Absolutely Wonderful!
    I think that I would not have come across such a varied range of Art influences without this blog.
    Thank you to all who make it possible.

  2. I love this trompe l'oeil! There's a wonderful 1998 book on the life and work of Palladio entitled Andrea Palladio, The Architect in His Time, by Bruce Boucher. I've found it to also be an inspiration. Mark