The Spada Gallery is located in one of the 17th century wings of the palace of the same name (Palazzo Spada) and is formed by paintings of the 17th century collected by cardinal Bernardino Spada and his grand-nephew Fabrizio Spada.
Palazzo Spada, built around 1548 by cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro and designed by the architect Bartolomeo Baronio was bought by Cardinal Bernardino Spada in 1632.
Three fortuitous events give this panorama a special "flavor":
- The exhibition of two portraits of Cardinal Bernardino Spada
- The Angela Aquilini's tableau vivant
- Museum attendant in costume.
1) The exhibition: A comparison between two portraits of Cardinal Bernardino Spada.
An unpublished portrait of Bernardino Spada made by Guercino, an italian painter of the 16th/17th century, was found in the antiques market of New York in 2007. Brought to Rome, it appears to be a preliminary study of an official portrait of the Cardinal made in 1631 and housed in the Spada Gallery. From April 9th to June 30th, 2008, it was exhibited in the Spada Gallery with the official portrait by Guercino and another portrait by Guido Reni.
In the panorama, the preliminary study is on the left, the Guido Reni's is the big one in the center and on the right is the official portrait by Guercino.
2) At the exhibition, the Angela Aquilini's atelier of costumes had the idea to do a representation of the making of a red cape (mozzetta
) for the Cardinal with actors dressed with precise copies of the 17th century costumes.
3) In the background of the panorama, the young lady dressed in a 16th century costume (a museum guide), appears as the "house ghost," in clothing of the same age as the palace when it was built.
Angela Aquilini's atelier