Gallery of statues

The entire southern side overlooking the noble courtyard of the Mansion’s first floor is dominated by a sole room that connects the southwestern staircase of the zone designated as the private apartments of Bartolomeo III Arese and which opens at about mid-level on a compact series of rooms that were the apartments of his heir, Giulio II. The cultural valence of these rooms are evidenced in the rich set of wall paintings of the hall, which must have once been populated by many statues, which the 17th-century inventories mention only in generic lists, but must have included small and big sculptures probably traced to ancient and also modern eras.
Marked by regular architectonic frames enriched by elegant floral motif decorations, on the walls opposite each other on both sides of the room, there are real windows with false paintings on them, opening out over a hypothetic rustic courtyard.

The inter-columns between both types of windows are filled with monochrome gold figures that symbolise the Liberal Arts (on the opposite side), the personages that excelled in such disciplines: Grammar/Aristarchus; Rhetoric/Cicero; Logic/Zeno of Elea; Poetry/Homer; Painting/Zeus; Music/Heron; and Arithmetic/Pythagoras. The door set on the west wall, is dominated from above by a half-bust of Aristotle, intellectual by definition, and flanked by the figure of Study, shown with the features of the young Giulio II Arese. On the opposite side, the door to the east is surmounted by the bust of Gaius Julius Cesar, with the Allegory of Intelligence at his side. In this way the wise route through the room is complete: the study and the Aristotle-type of methodology brings the young student, Arese, to master all the sciences and arts, following the example of the great philosophers of the past, but also in developing the ability to combine his own innate intelligence with the operational skills Cesar was gifted with. Lastly, on the contrary compared to the other halls, the Gallery is the only room of the first floor in which the centre of the ceiling’s panels are painted with a series of cupids holding the emblems of the arts and sciences, and in the corners, the stems of the mansion’s owners.
An inscription painted on the entrance door leading to the southern staircase, bears the date 1663, to be interpreted as the year of the start of the decorative works on the hall, in honour of the studies undertaken by the young count. His sudden death in 1665, however, led to the start of a series of modification in the last two bays of the hall, especially on the ceiling where the cupids drop the Wings – symbol of the Arese family, and the stems connected to these are replaced by that of the Borromeo lineage, the new heirs of Bartolomeo III.
As to the autograph of this complex painting works, critiques found from the 17th-century inventories, a note referring to several sets of hands, later identified as those of Antonio Busca (1625-1686), probably the author of the decorations on the vault, the artist Giovanni Ghisolfi (1623-1683), for the architectonic frames in the background, and the brothers Giovanni Stefano (1612-1690) and Giuseppe Doneda (1609-1680 ca.) so-called Montalto, for the allegorical figures.