Pietro Fancelli

Design for a Ceiling Decor with Apollo and Aurora

c. 1800
The generous size of this drawing, as well as its vividness and state of completion, make it an outstanding example of Italian ceiling design. Its long and rectangular shape seems to have roused the artist's creative resourcefulness, as ornamentation and mythology come together here to create a rich iconographic program. The central figurative area is divided in two parts: a winged Aurora, the goddess of dawn emitting rays of light, dominates the topmost section, while the lower half is occupied by the figure of Apollo driving his chariot, led by personifications of Truth (holding the sun) and Time (holding an hourglass). The complex iconography continues in the intricate design for the painted border. Diana, Mercury, Apollo, harpies and putti are all featured among illusionistic ornaments such as busts and garlands.
Title
Design for a Ceiling Decor with Apollo and Aurora
Date
c. 1800
Medium
Drawing
Materials
pen and brown ink with watercolour over black chalk on laid paper ?, laid down on heavy wove paper
Dimensions
59.8 x 29.9 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1975
Accession number
18194