CABINET OF LOVE
The shadow of desire
The Cabinet of the Triumph of Love is one of the many rooms dedicated to Giacinta. The Palace seems increasingly to resemble a temple dedicated to classical themes and to the consort of the Count.
This small room is a boudoir, that is, an environment dedicated to women and self-care. It is a room typical of French residences and the Count wants to have one in his Palace as well.
In this room Giani gives free rein to his creativity by working on the walls with artificial solutions: the room has eight walls whose corners are built with the use of fake walls, as in the Temple of Apollo.
The artist again is cunning and deceives the visitors: he simulates the appearance of paintings hanging on the walls by framing and placing the boxes dedicated to Love under glass. It’s all an optical illusion: the “fake paintings” are an integral part of the decorative apparatus.
The fake architectures on the walls are created by Giani taking as a model the decorations of the fourth Pompeian style that he studies directly from the ancient world in his travels between Rome and Naples. At that time, the Pompeian style is very fashionable and the Count wants to follow this taste.
The false paintings depict famous episodes of loves of gods and maidens, many of which are taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Giani knows well the text of the Latin author and many other classic books in circulation at the time.
The episodes depicted are the rape of Proserpina and that of Europa. Proserpina, daughter of Ceres, the divinity of agriculture, is kidnapped by her uncle and lord of the Underworld, Pluto. Europa, the girl “with the wide eyes”, is deceived and kidnapped by Jupiter in the form of a white bull. He brought on his back across the whole Mediterranean. Artists have been depicting these stories for centuries. And then again: Apollo and Daphne, Diana and Endymion, Jupiter and Leda. Desire moves the strings of these stories and to complete everything on the ceiling we find the Triumph of Love inspired by Petrarch’s poetry.
This room is the last where Giani and his workshop works. To pay homage to Giani’s great work, the Count asks to insert the date of completion next to his family crest. It is 1805.
Giacinta is a seventeen-year-old young woman when the Count presents her this Palace as their family home. It is Giacinta herself that describes the first time she sees the Palace:
…I am admired and moved in front of such a beauty and the very high ideas that have been dedicated to me, but I too have my dreams and, if I’m allowed, my ambitions. You, my dear husband, will often travel and I would find myself alone, without family and friends in a city that is foreign to me. I grew up in Bologna and there I would like to start a living room to welcome people of culture, writers, musicians, intellectuals…
In Bologna, Giacinta has relations with the Buonaparte family, and cultivates friendships of the caliber of Leopardi and Rossini. Here, she meets again her childhood friend Gianmaria Mastai, the future Pope Pius IX. On the basis of some letters, someone alludes that there is a secret, intimate love relationship between the future pope and Giacinta, but it was probably just fraternal affection.