A true jewel of Roman the Baroque, the Galleria Colonna was commissioned in the mid 1600s by Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna. It was inaugurated by Lorenzo Onofrio’s son, Philip II, in 1700.
Gallery, Hall of the Battle Column
The Colonna Gallery, Great Hall
Hall of Landscapes
Hall of the Apotheosis of Martino V
Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) The Bean Heater
A true jewel of the Roman Baroque, the Galleria Colonna was commissioned in the mid 1600s by Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna. It was inaugurated by Lorenzo Onofrio’s son, Philip II, in 1700. The original project is by the architect Antonio del Grande; it was then integrated by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Paolo Schor and Carlo Fontana in the last decade of the 1600s.
From the very beginning, the Gallery was conceived as a large boardroom, which was to celebrate the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The commander of the Papal fleet, Marcantonio II Colonna, is depicted numerous times throughout the vault of the Great Hall of the Gallery and in the Room of the Battle Column.
The fresco on the vault above the Hall of the Battle Column is by Giuseppe Chiari and depicts the presentation of Marcantonio to the Virgin Mary in heaven. The room takes its name from the column of red marble on a pedestal in the center of the room, which recalls the family coat of arms. The carvings represent ancient Roman military scenes. Among the many works of art in the Room of the Battle Column, we’d like to point out the beautiful painting by Bronzino depicting Venus, Cupid and a Satyr. Of particular interest are the three large paintings by Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio representing Night, above the Bronzino, and, on the opposite wall, Dawn, with Venus and Cupid.
On the short flight of stairs, going down to the Great Hall, you will find a cannon ball, which arrived in 1849, during the period of the Roman Republic. It was shot by the French army from the Janiculum Hill, under the orders of General Oudinot, who arrived at Porta San Pancrazio to help Pope Pius IX from the Republican insurgents, including Mazzini, Armellini and Saffi, who occupied the center of Rome for a few months.
Going on to visit the Great Hall, we’d like to point out the four large mirrors painted by Mario dei Fiori, Giovanni Stanchi and Carlo Maratta, along with the impressive series of masterpieces by Guercino, Salvator Rosa, Jacopo Tintoretto, Francesco Salviati, Guido Reni, Giovanni Lanfranco and many others.
We suggest you walk around freely in this beautiful room, amongst the paintings, sculptures and precious furnishings, which are the heart of the family art collections, bound by fidecommesso since 1800. They are inextricably tied to the walls of the palace, may not be alienated nor divided, which is the best way to guarantee their preservation over time.
If you are interested in more information about the Colonna family, the Palace and its furnishings, please feel free to consult the publications available to the public at the three main points: in the Entrance Hall, in the Blue Hall and in the Hall of the Landscapes.
After passing the two majestic columns coated with yellow Siena marble, you are now in the Hall of the Landscapes, which takes its name from the numerous paintings of rural subjects by Gaspard Dughet. The vault, depicting an allegory of the Battle of Lepanto, was painted in the late 1600s by Sebastiano Ricci. The large cabinet made of ebony and ivory, the work of the Austrian Steinhart brothers, illustrates scenes from the Old and New Testament and, in the center, depicts the Last Judgment that Michelangelo painted in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. On the opposite wall stands a cabinet made of sandalwood and precious stones depicting a Roman villa of the era. Note that all the console tables in the gallery, including these two cabinets, are supported by submissive figures, who represent the defeated Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.
Continuing with the tour, you enter the Hall of the Apotheosis of Martin V, which takes its name from the large canvas by Benedetto Luti at the center of the ceiling, depicting the presentation of the family Pope into heaven.
This room is filled with important masterpieces: Il Mangiafagioli (The Bean Eater), by Annibale Carracci, dating from the late sixteenth century, is among the most famous and represents the meal of a peasant. Three centuries later, he is known to have inspired impressionist painters like Van Gogh and Degas. Above the Mangiafagioli is a valuable panel painting by Bronzino, depicting the Virgin with Spleeping Child, St. Anne and the Young St. John the Baptist. On the upper right side of the fireplace, is the portrait of St. Carlo Borromeo by Lanfranco and, below, the Portrait of Composer Adrian Willaert at the Spinet by Jacopo Tintoretto.
On the central wall, The Guardian Angel by Guercino, The Rape of Europe by Francesco Albani, the Penitent St. Jerome in the Desert by Perugino and his workshop together with the Holy Family with Saint Sebastian, Saint Jerome and Mary Magdalen by Paris Bordone. And again, the Crowned Virgin by Andrea del Sarto, Self Portrait with Cameo and the Raising of Lazarus by Francesco Salviati.
At the center of the next wall, above the seventeenth-century Roman console table, is a Carrara marble bust of Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna, commissioner of the Gallery, which was carried out by Orfeo Boselli in the mid 1600s. On the left, a valuable painting by Jacopo Tintoretto, representing Onofrio Panvinio, a very well known Augustinian historian during his time; on the right, the Gentleman by Paolo Veronese.
Moving on to the next room, we are now in the Throne Room, once again dedicated to the family Pope, Oddone Colonna. He was elected Pope on November 11, 1417, on the anniversary of St. Martin, the reason why he chose the name Martin V. During his pontificate, which lasted until 1431, Pope Martin V had his permanent residence at Palazzo Colonna, that became the Papal Seat for about ten years. The throne facing the papal portrait was reserved for papal visits up until 1870, when it was common for Popes to visit the palaces of the ancient families of Roman nobility. On both sides of the portrait of Martin V are two paintings which are two small portraits by Scipione Pulzone, depicting Marcantonio II Colonna, victor at Lepanto, and his wife, Felice Orsini, and the oldest paintings of the entire collection: the Madonna with Angels by Stefano da Verona, and the Crucifixion by Jacopo Avanzi, both dating from the fourteenth century. In the following room, the Hall of the Old Masters Paintings you will admire numerous paintings of exquisite workmanship. Among the many, the Massacre of the Innocents, by Jacopo del Sellaio, the Resurrection of Christ and of some members of the Colonna family at the end of time by Pietro da Cortona and the Birth of the Virgin by Francesco Cozza.
The Yellow Room, or entrance hall, is placed between the Room of the Old Masters Paintings and the Chapel Room. The wall frescoes are by the brothers Giuseppe and Stefano Pozzi (authors of the figures) and Giovanni Angeloni (for landscapes and ornaments) and date back to the mid-fifties of the eighteenth century. They represent ideal views of villas with spectacular trompe-l’oeil effects, as the two wreaths of stucco relief that connect the walls to the ceiling.
From this room a couple of doors give access to the Chapel Room in which we have some tapestries from the series dedicated to the Queen Artemisia: the two next to the window and the one on the entry wall date from the beginning of the XVII century (manufacture of Paris – Boulevard Saint Marcel), while the one above the fireplace was realized by Italian artists in 1670. There are also interesting paintings, such as the painting on easel, realized by a Roman artist in 1631 and representing Our Lady of the Rosary, surrounded by some of the most famous Italian Saints, including Saint Benedict, Saint Francis, Saint Chiara and Saint Catherine of Siena. The frame encloses a series of paintings on wood, attributed to the Flemish painter Loedewijk Toeput called Pozzoserrato depicting episodes from the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and the Moses with the Tables of the Law by Guercino. The Murano chandelier of the room (XVIII century) is the largest in the whole palace.
The Chapel, visible from this room, houses paintings representing the Holy Family by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari and a Deposition by the school of Paolo Farinati (XVI century). On the left hand side a glass window depicts the translation of the body of the blessed Margherita Colonna from Castel San Pietro to the roman church of San Silvestro in Capite (1283).
The Tapestry Room takes its name from the superb French tapestry (same manufacture of Paris – Boulevard Saint Marcel) of the early 1600s, depicting the Queen Artemisia who attends the riding lesson of her son, the young prince Lygdamis. The tapestry underwent a recent major cleaning and restoration work in Brussels at the Royal Company De Wit (2011-2012). The room also houses an impressive collection of paintings of sacred subjects from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Among others, it is worth mentioning two small plates, the Madonna and Child (also known as the Madonna of the Zodiac, for the zodiac signs depicted in the background) and the Virgin Annunciate, by Cosmè Tura, one of Ferrara’s most famous artist, Saint Augustine by Carlo Crivelli, Madonna and Child with Saints by Jacopo Palma il Giovane, Saint Anthony Abbot and a Bishop Saint by Pietro Alamanno, The Adoration of the Shepherds and Christ among the Doctors by Bernardino di Mariotto and the Birth of the Virgin and Two kneeling donors in landscape, by the so-called Master of the Colonna Predella.
The Room of the Embroidery takes its name from the fine “Indian-style” tapestries on the walls, dated to the mid-seventeenth century, woven with a technique that combines gold and silk threads. The central canopy shows the Colonna and Pamphilj coat of arms, because of the marriage between Philip II Colonna, son of Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and Maria Mancini Mazarin, with Olimpia Pamphilj in 1697.
From the Room of the Embroidery a small vestibule with mirrors, painted in the middle of the eighteenth century, leads to the Hall of the Apotheosis of Martin V.
If you are interested in booking a private visit of the whole Gallery and of Princess Isabelle’s Apartment, please contact the offices of the Colonna Gallery at +39 06 6784350 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thank you for your kind attention and have a good day.