Perspective with a Banquet Scene
Collezioni Comunali d'Arte
Ferdinando Galli Bibiena (1657, Bologna-1743, Bologna)
Oil on canvas
173,3 x 229 cm
First half eighteenth-century
Ferdinando Bibiena was a great architect and scenographer. Working with his sons, Bibiena shared the artistic and theatrical Italian fashion of architectural perspective throughout Europe. In his last years he was a professor at the Accademia Clementina. His teachings promoted a predilection for perspective painting as an autonomous decorative genre that soon became very fashionable all over Europe.
Bibiena painted this picture in 1721, upon returning to Bologna after a long stay in Vienna. There is a pendant of the same subject which was painted by a follower of Bibiena. Monumental architecture, arches, vaults, columns, and balustrades are on an angular perspective. Side vanishing points make the space deeper and convey the impression of a theatrical scene. The small figures taking part in the sumptuous banquet in the foreground come from different directions. They are positioned at the base of enormous columns, thus emphasising the magnificence of the architecture.
The painting was commissioned by the Accademia Clementina to Ferdinando Galli Bibiena in 1721. It was presented to the Senate of Bologna to celebrate the homecoming of the celebrated scenographer and theatrical architect and his congregation to the local Academy of fine arts. Magnificent architectural elements on an angular view form an eclectic and fantastic ensemble, the theatrical side of the baroque taste for illusion.
Documents in the State Archive of Bologna show that the painting was already finished on the 6th of November 1721. The Accademia Clementina had already decided to have it delivered to the apartment of Gonfaloniere, on the first floor of Palazzo Comunale.
The painting, originally located on the first floor of Palazzo Comunale, was moved to the museum, on the second floor of the same building, in 1992.
Lenzi, D. “Le tempere di architettura”, Meravigliose scene piacevoli inganni. Galli Bibiena, (exhibition catalogue), Arezzo, 1992, pp. 94-95, n. 40.
Lenzi, D. in I Bibiena una famiglia europea (exhibition catalogue) (eds. J. Bentini and D. Lenzi), Bologna, 2000, pp. 415-417, n. 127.
Elisabetta Berselli "Perspective with a Banquet Scene" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=object;BAR;it;Mus12;40;en
Prepared by: Elisabetta BerselliElisabetta Berselli
AFFILIATION Musei Civici d’Arte Antica - Bologna
TITLE Art Historian
Graduated and specialized in History of Art at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in Bolognese sixteenth-century painting. Since 1999 she has been working for the Musei Civici d’Arte Antica di Bologna, cataloguing the works of art in the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte Antica, writing essays, co-curating exhibitions, and educational texts for adult visitors.
Translation by: Antonella MampieriAntonella Mampieri
AFFILIATION: Musei Civici d’Arte Antica, Bologna
TITLE: Art Hitorian
Graduated and specialised at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in Bolognese late Baroque art, namely sculpture. Among other subjects she has been studying nineteenth-century funerary art in the Bologna monumental cemetery, la Certosa.
Translation copyedited by: Lisa Kelman
MWNF Working Number: IT2 44