The Frescoes from the Villa of the Farnesina

Fresco from the Villa of the Farnesina. From Roma, via della Lungara, 30-20 BCE

The Villa of the Farnesina, sumptuous residence of the Augustan age, was brought back to light in Trastevere in 1879, during the regulation works of the banks of the Tiber.

The remains of the Villa were only partially explored and then destroyed, but the elevated quality of the decorations required the salvage of the frescoes, mosaics and stuccoes, since preserved in the Museo Nazionale Romano. In the exhibition space of Palazzo Massimo the stripped decorations have been recomposed within rooms of the original dimensions.

The goal was to recreate, to the extent possible, the sequence of the visual perceptions of the Ancient age, walking through the long gallery of the cryptoporticus (hidden portico) as far as the garden, on which faced the winter triclinium (dining room) and two cubicola (bedchambers) with vermillion walls, thence reaching, through another corridor, a third cubiculum. 

The diverse references to the Egyptian world present in the decorations of the villa can be read as a celebration of the conquest of Egypt. In fact the owner of the residence is probably, according to reliable hypotheses, to be identified as the general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa himself, author of the victory at Actium. The frescoes, exemplars of the great painting of the Imperial age in Rome, are ascribable to the final phase of the Second style.