Imperial dreams
“Through me, the Lords rule.”
The power of the imperial and dynastic ideal was celebrated in the residences of the nobility to demonstrate their loyalty to the emperor and/or Pope. The main elements of this demonstration of loyalty are seen in the triumphal walkways, ancestor halls and elaborate staircases, all of which are formulated to strengthen the history and mythology associated with the family, seen as integral to successful rule. The complicated iconographic programmes use mythological as well as Christian motifs, representing both the virtues and the political programmes of the owner. The residence, complete with administrative buildings and churches donated by the ruler, ensure that the monarch is always present throughout the kingdom.
Palazzo Colonna Rospigliosi, fresco decoration

Second half of the 16th century
Zagarolo, Rome, Italy
Giovanni Bianchi, also known as Il Bertone (documented 1573–1580)
The nobility of the Colonna family is celebrated in frescoes that can be seen as prototypes for the era of self-presentation that followed in the Baroque period, and correspond with absolutist ideals.