Firmian Palace

Paul Troger's frescoes: where mythology and art meet

The eighteenth-century Palazzo Firmian (Firmian Palace), noble residence facing the central Piazza della Chiesa, today prestigious location of the local Town hall of Mezzocorona, is one of the finest examples of Paul Troger's fresco paintings, undisputed late Baroque masterpieces blending mythology and art to exalt the grandeur of the Firmian family.

Seat of the jurisdiction of Mezzocorona in the Middle Ages, Palazzo Firmian was, then, acquired by the local council in 1985, and the restoration work which was undertaken shortly thereafter brought to light the splendid frescoes in the Palazzo. It was initially conjectured that those on the second floor were the work of Paul Troger (1698-1762), a leading exponent of Austrian Baroque, and this hypothesis was later confirmed when the painter's signature on one of the frescoes was uncovered.

The Mezzocorona fresco paintings belong to the early period of the artist's activity (the end of the second decade of the eighteenth century), and provide evidence that the artist was already acquainted with Venetian painting. This was an important discovery as it shows the high level of cultural and artistic discernment on the part of the local nobilty, in particular the Firmian family, who were clearly patrons of the arts and especially supported the education of talented young artists.

The cycle of frescoes is very consistent and is clearly connected with the period when the Firmian family was at its height and with Francesco Alfonso in particular. A central theme is the exaltation of the family which is presented through various mythological subjects (Apotheosis of the Firmian Family at Olympia; the Triumph of Love over Destiny and Death; Bellerophon astride Pegasus slaying the Chimera; Hercules firing arrows at the Stymphalian birds; St. Michael the Archangel slaying the dragon). This type of iconography results from an artistic policy directed at using figurative representation to depict the virtues and values of the commissioning family.

There are many noteworthyobjects of great value in the building: among them are the wooden panelling in the first floor rooms, the seventeenth century fireplaces and Flemmish tapestries, the 17th and 18th century majolica stoves, Troger's altar-piece on display in the chapel depicting the Adoration of the Magi.

Bibliography: Bruno Passamani (by), Paul Troger 1698 – 1762. Novità e revisioni, Comune di Mezzocorona, 1997

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