Altar Clock - inv. 3430
This ‘altar’ clock, inspired by the shape of Counter Reformation altarpieces, recalls ‘night’ clocks both in the architectural structure of its ebonised wood case and in its face, where the discs showing the hours revolve in a semicircular opening. The practice of painting the face, typical of Italian clocks, began only between 1660 and 1670. The allegorical subject portrayed here is frequent in ‘night’ clocks. Truth, the friend of light, is holding the Sun in her right hand and she is scantily clad, since it is in her nature to be simple. Time is depicted as an old winged man, like the saying "volat irreparabile tempus" (time inexorably flies). Falsehood, with his brown flesh almost lost in the darkness of the background, lies twisted at their feet. Two inscriptions alluding to the transience of time appear on the semicircle of the hours. Originally from Genoa, Baciccio moved, in his youth, to Rome, where, thanks to his friendship with Bernini, he became successful with both the laic and the ecclesiastical aristocracy. Produced in 1670 circa, this work is considered to be one of the first commissioned to the artist, due to a certain awkwardness in rendering the volumes and the perspective.