Una caccia al cinghiale, mostri marini e temi nilotici nei mosaici pavimentali dell’ottocentesco palazzo Forcella a Palermo: tra suggestioni classiche e riproduzioni ‘in stile’

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Abstract

The Marquise Forcella palace in Palermo shows a curious mixture of neoclassical andneo-medieval styles. It was built in the years immediately after the revolution of 1820.Particularly close to the Borbonic Court, Enrico Forcella was the administrator of the restorationof the Royal Palace in Palermo. As he had at his disposal the same specialized workers of the RoyalPalace, he decided to copy some of the artworks from King Roger’s room and the Cappella Palatina. Healso added some details derived from other Norman buildings in Palermo. These included the Zisa Castle,but he also sourced the Islamic Palaces of Andalusia, in particular the Alhambra in Granada and theAlcazar in Seville.A Mosaic in the Palazzo Forcella-De Seta shows close similarities with one decorating thethreshold of the exedra in the House of the Faun at Pompeii.The Marquise Forcella hosted the Marquise Haus at his previous house. Haus was the preceptorof Francesco I and the Director of the Antiquities in Pompeii, thus Forcella had the chance to see thedrawings of the new discoveries. He copied some themes from Pompeian mosaics and paintings for hisnew palace immediately following their excavation. The House of the Faun mosaic was discovered in1831. Palazzo Forcella was completed in the 1833, the same year in which the Marquise Haus died.Another floor of the palace is an opus sectile made in the style of the so-called cosmatesque floorsof the Norman period. Mixed with the medieval subjects, there are, however, two fantastic animals, asea panther and a hippocampus which reveal a classic origin. The source for these marble inserts isalways Pompeii. If other minor subjects derive from some books published in Naples, the two animalsare taken from a drawing published in London. This gives the idea of the owner’s international projection.He was a scholar and his papers were well known by the most important intellectuals of that period, suchas Wolfgang Goethe.The main subject of the mosaic is a boar hunt. The scene isn’t a reproduction of a Pompeianmosaic but is a new floor made in the style of the ancient ones, as was usual in those years, when thereproduction in style was also theorized.The boar hunt was a very common theme in antiquity and some details of the mosaic recall inparticular a roman sarcophagus in the Mazara del Vallo Cathedral. The outer wall of the Cappella Palatinain Palermo shows a boar hunt (a ‘royal’ theme par excellence). It could be argued that through thisrepresentational work of art Marquise Forcella wanted to show his loyalty to the Borbonic Court. Somescholars try to name to the hunter of the Palace Forcella mosaic. They mention Hippolitus, whose huntas described in Euripides’ and Seneca’s tragedies, was a widespread theme in Roman times. He alsoappears on the rear side of the Phaedra sarcophagus in Agrigento.In my opinion, considering the relevant political message of this theme, it is much more probablethat Forcella’s mosaic depicts Alexander the Great.
Lingua originaleItalian
Pagine15-46
Numero di pagine32
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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