Leandro Ventura

Prince's virtues and ancient models in the Castle of Gambatesa

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Ke frescoes in the Castello Di Capua in Gambatesa, painted in 1550 by Donato de Cumbertino for Vincenzo Di Capua, are an absolutely unique example of 16th century painting in Molise. Apart from the formal elements, that bind these paintings to the area of Vasari's collaborators, this short essay tries to follow a path of reading the frescoes, which is intended to show that the objective behind the iconographic choices is to define a symbolic image of the prince. To achieve this goal, Vincenzo Di Capua mostly uses ancient models, as it is also the case in contemporary political treatises, such as the specula principum or the institutional texts. In Gambatesa, the result is obtained by presenting ideal models of political virtue, both through stories of myth and with more explicit personifications of the virtues, in a way that allows us to compare this cycle of frescoes with similar works painted in other Italian courts.

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