In Rome today is the culmination of a real estate deal that has kept art-loving Italy busy for months: the auction of Villa Aurora, a mega-city villa with real estate, in the center of Rome. For four hundred years the villa was owned by the noble Ludovisi family. But due to the inheritance issue, it is now on sale. Asking price: 471 million euros.
The buyer not only acquires the house with the bequest, but also acquires the ceiling painting made by Caravaggio around 1597. This unique work of art, the only ceiling painting by the famous Italian painter, is worth 300 million euros in itself.
The auction of the villa in Rome caused an uproar in Italy for some time. Politicians, academics and concerned citizens want the government to prevent the sale – or the purchase of the villa itself. A petition asking the government to buy the property was signed 38,000 times. The Minister of Culture has now submitted this request to the Prime Minister.
The Ludovisi family has owned an area of approximately 3,000 square metres, since the early 17th century. In addition to the works of Caravaggio, the building is filled with statues and other works.
Matisse Juncker, Head of Art History at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome in Radio NOS 1 News. He lives opposite the villa and was also inside.
“What you see in the ceiling painting by Caravaggio is a representation from mythology, three deities: Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter, very brief.” The body parts have been miniaturized, so there’s plenty of depth to the work. “Here the three gods stand as if they were standing on a glass ceiling and the viewer looks at them. What you see is the soles of the feet. The gods are partially naked, so you also look at the genus Pluto.”
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