The Farnesina villa was built at the will of the wealthy Senegal banker Agostino Chigi. Designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi and frescoed by artists of the likes of Raffaello, Sebastiano del Piombo, Sodoma and Peruzzi himself, is one of the highest expressions of the Italian Renaissance. Since 1948 Villa Farnesina with its magnificent garden has been assigned to the National Academy of the Lincei, which uses it as its prestigious representative office. The vault of the main loggia inside it was frescoed by Raphael’s design inspired by the fable of Love and Psyche taken from the golden donkey by Lucio Apuleius (I century AD) and decorated with naturalistic motifs performed with extraordinary mastery by Giovanni da Udine to connect the interiors with the surrounding garden. The varied disposition and richness of plant species in which the painter could use a stylistic language and a chromaticity of absolute originality amount to about one hundred and eighty botanical entities. Exceptional is the presence of rare and exotic species from all the then known continents and especially American species to just 20 years after the discovery of the new world.
The Exceptionality of the Loggia is celebrated in the exhibition “The Colors of Prosperity: Fruits of the Old and New World”, from 20 April to 20 July 2017 at Villa Farnesina, curated by Antonio Sgamellotti (Prof. Emeritus of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Perugia ) And Giulia Caneva (Environmental and Applied Botanical Order, Univ. Roma Tre), who already authored a monograph on the flora represented in the Loggia.
The exhibition combines the iconographic variety and symbology associated with the results of a non-invasive XRF, IR and IRFC imaging campaign conducted in situ for material characterization and executive technique. Imaging analyzes, made possible by recent technological advances in the spectroscopic field, integrate those conducted during the last intervention of the ISCR (Institute for Conservation and Restoration) in the 90s of the last century and shed new light On this precious construction site, highlighting its unprecedented aspects. The exhibition’s path is divided into the private rooms of the magnificent residence and is complemented by an introductory video room on the gardens of Villa Farnesina, whose festoons constitute the prospective illusion inside and in a room where they are exposed Some sixteenth-century editions from the Library of the National Academy of the Lincei and Corsiniana to outline the artistic and scientific context in which the decorative masterpiece of the Loggia di Amore e Psyche fits in.