The only ceiling Caravaggio ever painted has been hidden for hundreds of years in a villa in Rome. But now, Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi in an effort to “bring more life” into the crumbling Villa Aurora, which she inhabits with her husband Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, descendent of Popes Gregory XIII and Gregory XV, is on view to the public.
The fresco featuring Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte for the small second-floor alchemy lab of his hunting lodge in 1597 had been covered for years. In 1968, chipping paint revealed a recognizable face from the fresco underneath; the face of Caravaggio who painted his own dark features onto all three of the gods portrayed.
The villa, built in 1570 in the heart of Rome, has recently received a €10 million grant from the Italian government to conserve the many frescos that litter the property including ones by Guercino, Bril, Viola, Domenichino and Pomarancio. To get a glimpse and them and many other treasures, one must organize a private tour, which is often give by the Princess herself. The home is supposedly open Friday mornings from 11 to 12 and/or you have to request permission from the Amministrazione del Principe Boncompagni Ludovisi by fax at 06 4201 0745.
Via Mattia Battistini, 44, 00167 Roma, Italia – 066 640017
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