The Camera Pinta in Spoleto

The Camera Pinta in Spoleto

In the “Spiritata”, the Main Tower of Spoleto's Rocca Albornoziana, the extraordinary late Gothic frescoes of the Camera Pinta are preserved. In addition to being a refuge in case of extreme defence, the Main Tower also had a residential function. The Camera Pinta, accessed via the Salone d'Onore, was in fact the castellan's bedroom, and this use explains the iconographic choice of the paintings. The large room is divided by a diaphragm arch; probably one part served as a study while the other area was for the bedroom. The two parts can also be distinguished by the difference in the paintings: in the small study there are 16 scenes arranged on two registers; in the bedroom 4 large scenes. One of these, the bath in the fountain, is probably later than the others.

Marino Tomacelli, a native of Naples and brother of Boniface IX, commissioned the Master of the Dormitio of Terni to paint the frescoes during his vicariate in Spoleto (1392 - 1416). The painter was inspired by the lively Neapolitan cultural milieu of the d'Anjou family, adapting his style to a new artistic language, the naturalism of the spirit of chivalry and the new courtly and international trends. The cycle of frescoes in the Camera Pinta, with scenes of life and courtly love, depictions of bathing, tales of knights, feasts and duels, probably draws inspiration from the themes described in Giovanni Boccaccio's Teseide and that fairytale world.

The four large scenes in the bedroom symbolise the various moments of falling in love between a knight and his lady: on the south wall, Cupid fires his arrow that strikes the protagonists of the story; further on, a fishing scene represents courtship, while the gathering of flowers and fruit subtends the joys of love. Finally, the scene with the Fountain of Love symbolises marriage.

One suggestion: these love-inspired paintings have fired the imagination over the centuries and, even today, the Painted Room can be an original suggestion for all those lovers looking for special places to draw romantic inspiration or ideas for the celebration of their vows. Perhaps for the day of the fateful “yes”!

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