Stanza Di Eliseo
Park Hotel Villa Grazioli
If we pass through the Central Salon, we find ourselves in the “Stanza di Elyseus”.
The following owners of the Villa, the Peretti-Montalto family (about 1613) commissioned this painting to an artist from the school of Carracci, probably Antonio Carracci himself.
This room strikes us as very different from the others, with the use of richly gilded frames and shadowing effects which make a contrast with Ciampelli’s more intimate style.
Carracci has simulated the engravings with such expert shadowing that they appear to be real.
The “engravings” surround central panel with a richly gilded frame.
Elyseus is seen contemplating Prophet Elijah ascending to heaven on a horse-drawn cart with flaming wheels.
On the longer sides of the vault, powerful male figures emerge with extraordinary reality.
They are sitting on the ledge of two windows opening onto imaginary landscapes.
On the shorter sides of the vault, oval openings reveal two other landscapes.
One of those is particularly interesting because it represents the Villa the way it looked at that time: the plane tree, painted 400 years ago, is the same one that can still be found in the garden of the villa.
The use of realistic shadowing in the vault, to promote the illusion of depth and curving, certainly makes this an impressive composition, which did not fail to impress eminent visitors like Marquis of Sade.
This is what he wrote in his travel-diary: “This villa appeared to me as the most elegant of all the villas in Frascati… You can admire a fresco that represents monochrome arabesques so masterly shadowed that they look real and you feel like touching them”.
The purchase of the property by the Odescalchi family in 1683, marked for the Villa a period of great transformations. They involved structural works that modified the South prospect of the Villa.
The large 16th Century terrace was transformed into a gallery to allow the construction of a third floor.
Consequently, the new quarters incorporated the side-wings, while the central tower disappeared behind the added floor.
These changes can be appreciated most by comparing the view of the Villa in the “Stanza di Elyseus” (Fig.10) and the facade as it is today.