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Halls of Games

Halls of Games
The three rooms on the piano nobile frescoed by Alfonso II, but already used as state rooms under Ercole II, known as the Sala dell’Aurora (Dawn Room), Saletta dei Giochi (Small Games Room) and Salone dei Giochi (Large Games Room), present a complex iconography linked by a single underlying theme. The ceiling of the small chamber of Games is decorated, in the centre, with the round dance of the Four Seasons, and around that frescoes with scenes of the Games of Ancient Rome; on the long side a Bacchanal; opposite that the Basket Fight, a sort of boxing in which the competitors had around their hands bandages called ‘baskets’. On the two short walls are represented Gladiator fights. At the bottom, scenes of children's games rendered in the artistic style of Ancient Rome. The next large room, the Hall of Games, was intended for evening amusements, whether concerts or games. The ceiling is divided into eleven panels, each one containing a scene of a sport, following the tastes of Duke Alfonso II. Not all of them are equally well done: the most worthwhile, on the courtyard side, are by Bastianino and represent, from left to right: all-in wrestling, stone throwing, and Greco-Roman wrestling. The athletes are naked in deference to the tradition of ancient Greece. Also by Bastianino is the panel depicting swimming, on the short side next to the Greco-Roman wrestling.
last modified Aug 30, 2012 10:39
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