The dark green color is highlighted by white porcelain. A monochrome garland stands out on the dark green background. It takes inspiration from Nero’s Domus Aurea decorations, which were portrayed by Renaissance artists such as Raphael.
A “golden house”
The Domus Aurea was a sumptuous villa built by emperor Nero; it was decorated with frescos and semi-precious stones, ivory and fine marble. After Nero’s death, it was stripped of everything valuable leaving only the frescos that in fact lasted for centuries.Domus Aurea was discovered during the Renaissance and became a milestone for artists searching inspiration such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Domenico Ghirlandaio who popularized grotesque decorations. Andrea Mantegna, a painter from Padua made grotesques a distinctive feature of his art. His lush garlands, fruits and flowers were an integral part of his paintings. Garlands were symbol of prosperity and wealth held hidden meanings in the painted flowers and fruits.
Camera degli Sposi
The “Camera degli Sposi” is one of the most famous works of art by Mantegna. It is located in the Ducal Palace in Mantua. The entire room is frescoed with illusionistic paintings, on the trompe l’œil ceiling.Garlands of flowers and fruits surround the oculus; their role is not only to be a decoration, but also to show a deeper meaning.
Oranges grew in Hesperides’ garden and were connected to Venus, so it became a symbol of love. As the fruit can be sweet and bitter at the same time is symbolizes that love can bring tenderness but also bitterness.The Apple is the golden fruit from Hesperides’ garden: Paris was supposed to give a golden apple to the most beautiful goddesses and choose between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. So the apple is symbol of beauty. In the Christian tradition the apple is the fruit Eve picked from the tree of the knowledge and represents good and evil as well as temptation and the loss of Eden.Peaches are also related to love but are more erotic because of their shape.Plums and cherries are red like blood, so they recall the Passion of Christ.Hazelnuts symbolize fertility and fecundity as well as patience because they need a long time to mature. In closing, green of leaves, especially acanthus ones, means prestige and wealth.
A house party
The cup vase is decorated with acanthus curled leaves that are simple but lush gracefully covering the upper border.Usually garlands were used to decorate well set tables or party rooms and for this reason they recall festive and luxurious situations. This decorated vase refers to luxury banquets and to the happiness of being together to share a delicious lunch. The vase is also a sort of catalyst that attracts beauty and prestige.
The molding of the upper border strengthens the meaning of the painted decoration. Gold is an indisputable sign of prosperity and increases the magnetism of this elegant and attractive work of art.