Il museo ‘immaginario’ di Girolamo Gigli nel Collegio Petroniano delle Balie Latine

Bernardina Sani


Girolamo Gigli’s Del Collegio petroniano delle balie latine (On the Petronian boarding school of Latin nannies, 1719) describes the opening of an imaginary boarding school, in which Latin-speaking nannies raise little children, both boys and girls, reviving the Roman’s language. This paper examines the figurative themes of the book. Focus will be placed on the literary Procession crossing the town, decorated with works of art painted by great painters, among whom is the champion of perspective illusionism, Andrea Pozzo. The subjects of the paintings and their patrons are chosen in relation to the history, culture and nobility of Siena. The school museum is founded upon these paintings and other works of art including archaeological finds. The museum is divided into two galleries, which bring to mind the Roman baroque taste and artists and patrons related to the figure of Alexander VII, Fabio Chigi of Siena. In conceiving the museum, Gigli interprets historical facts of his time making room for Etruscan finds and works by the Primitivi of Siena. Finally, he welcomes ideas by men of learning of the Muratorian circle. 


Girolamo Gigli; Collegio Petroniano; Imaginary museum

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