Carlo Innocenzo Carloni - d.t. 727
This fresco comes from Villa Colleoni in Calusco d’Adda and the subject matter was chosen by the owner of the villa, Francesco Colleoni, who wanted to commemorate his family by recalling its most famous ancestor, the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni. The work was part of a cycle of four frescoes that decorated the great staircase: one on the ceiling, now in Milan, represented the apotheosis of the condottiere, and three wall frescoes, now in Palazzo Grassi in Venice, narrated memorable episodes from Colleoni’s life.
The commission was assigned to Carlo Innocenzo Carloni, member of a family of architects and stucco workers from Val d’Intelvi, not before 1737.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, German courts offered constant work for Italian artists, who were often asked to realise frescoes of profane themes to celebrate the glory of the prince. Carlo Innocenzo was chosen by the most powerful person of the moment at the Hapsburg court, prince Eugenio of Savoy, who commissioned him to fresco his own apotheosis in the reception halls of the Belvedere in Vienna. Since the theme of the apotheosis was often requested, Carloni had prepared a generic model that he referred to every time he was asked to produce a fresco of this subject. When it came to planning the individual fresco, there were few variations to introduce, which partly explained the speed in execution for which Carloni was renowned.
In the case of the fresco from Villa Colleoni the scheme remained unchanged and the allegorical figures are the same as those that appear in similar works. The hero is in the middle; a woman with a sword representing Justice is to his left; to his right sits Hercules with his head covered by a lion skin, while an old man, interpreted as Good Council, can be glimpsed in the middle ground. Above, two winged genie, Glory and Fame, are crowning the hero, while low down vanquished enemies are depicted pursued by the spirit of War. To the Poldi Pezzoli Museum belongs the oil sketch of this fresco.