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Apollo and Neptune advising Laomedon
Domenichino and assistants
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Three men, one with a crown, stand in a landscape. They hold between them a large piece of paper, while two are pointing to a classical city in the background. The gods Apollo and Neptune have disguised themselves as mortals to advise King Laomedon on the building of Troy.

This is one of ten frescoes designed by Domenichino, painted with the help of assistants, to decorate a magnificent garden pavilion at the Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati, near Rome. Many of the scenes, including this one, were taken from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Eight of them were transferred to canvas and are now in our collection.

Key facts
Artist Domenichino and assistants
Artist dates 1581 - 1641
Full title Apollo and Neptune advising Laomedon on the Building of Troy
Series Villa Aldobrandini Frescoes
Date made 1616-18
Medium and support Fresco, transferred to canvas and mounted on board
Dimensions 305.8 x 183.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1958
Inventory number NG6289
Location in Gallery Room 13
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Villa Aldobrandini Frescoes

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These large frescoes (now transferred to canvas) once decorated the walls of a spectacular pavilion in one of the great Italian Baroque gardens.

The Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati was rebuilt by Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, nephew of Pope Clement VIII, in the early years of the seventeenth century. Immediately behind the palace, he built a large classical pavilion and decorated it with fountains, statues and paintings. Domenichino’s frescoes – two of which remain in situ – were arranged around a room called the Stanza di Apollo, which also contained a musical fountain representing Mount Parnassus, the mythical home of the Greek sun god Apollo and the Muses. Based on themes drawn from the Greek myths, the iconographical programme glorified the triumph of the Catholic Church, and the role of the Aldobrandini family in it, emphasising the superiority of the intellect over the emotions.

Although Domenichino designed the pictures, much of the actual painting was done by assistants.

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