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Musei Civici di Arte Antica
Comune di Ferrara

The Albo Pretorio Hall


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The Estense Ducal Palace

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The Albo Pretorio Hall

Allegoria dell’Abbondanza - Foto: Centro Conservazione e Restauro La Venaria RealeIn this Hall, where historically are published the city’s administrative acts, stands out a XIV Century mullioned window, found during some works in 1899.
It must have belonged to the court palace just after the raising of this building, wanted by Nicolò II in 1375.
The mullioned window, integral part of a façade that once faced an internal court, was restored and reassembled in 1900. To its features was inspired the renovation of the Municipal Palace in front of the Duomo (1924-28).

Behind the mullioned window it is possible to enter in the Duchesses’ Camerino, conceived for Eleonora and Lucrezia d’Este, daughters of the Duke Ercole II.
This small interior, that epitomises the extraordinary sophistication of the Estensi family, was decorated between 1555 and 1560 mainly by Cesare, Camillo and foremost Sebastiano Filippi (known as Bastianino).
According to the tradition, the dressing room" was used by the young daughters of the Duke, who here got dressed, combed their hair, namely "spruced themselves up".
It was therefore a private and secluded room, easy to heat in the cold winter evenings, also appropriate for private conversations and for studying.

The walls of the Camerino composed of decorative panels in painted and golden wood, have a base characterised by geometric elements and small monochromatic figures in different poses.
Upon the base are some pilasters adorned with coloured glass squares imitating precious marble.
Between the pilasters are boards decorated with grotesques on golden backgrounds, with various ornamental patterns and refined allegorical and mythological figures.
To be noted is the Aboundance (holding a cornucopia) and, on the opposite wall, Minerva.
Above the window you can see a beautiful representation of Apollo while on the ceiling a painting of XVIII Century flavour portrays Aurora with the Sun Cart.

Image credits:

Duchesses’ Dressing Room, detail by panel of The Allegory of Aboundance
photo: Conservation and Restoration Center
La Venaria Reale

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