Monarchy Hall or Hall after the Vestibule

The name, “Monarchy hall,” derived from the fresco located in the ceiling’s central medallion. This is attributed to the painter, Giuseppe Doneda so-called “Montalto” (around 1609-1680) and portrays an allegory of the Spanish Monarchy, evidenced by a rich stucco cornice with heads of small angels, suggesting that the work was by the sculptor from Como, Giovanni Battista Barberini.

The painting depicts a woman, Spain, seated in solitude on a block of stone due to the defeats suffered, and two cupids coming to her aid with a kiss. One cupid represents Love, and the other with the greyhound personifies Fidelity. These figures placed at the lower end of the painting, are surmounted by the goddess, Venus who bursts on the scene, seated on a throne of clouds, her nakedness enwrapped by a white mantle. She is identified as the Aphrodite Uranium, that is, the Greek divinity born from the foam of the sea, fertilized by Uranium, symbol of ideal love. Critiques have also suggested a second hypothesis identifying this feminine figure as Astraea, the star maiden of Greek mythology, who descended among the mortals during the Golden age, spreading the sentiments of justice and goodness but then, disgusted by the degeneration of mankind, at the start of the iron age returned to heaven and remained there under the form of the constellation, Virgo.
The Arese family’s great desire to characterise the pictorial cycles with a vigorous political-figurative feature, suggests the identification of the fresco as a declaration of loyalty to the Spanish crown that could return to its grand splendour only with the help of the friendship and loyalty of the noble families of Lombardy and the Milanese senate. Due to this the woman symbolizing Spain in the fresco, is given the features of Mariana of Austria, Queen consort of the King of Spain, Philip IV of Habsburg, and mother of Charles II, who according to some scholars could have been represented in the young boy with the green outfit, standing by her side. He had thus been entrusted with the task of bringing on the restoration of the Spanish crown and ideally bringing back to Europe, good government, peace, and justice symbolized by the goddess seated amidst the clouds.
Instead, it is more probable that the child can be identified as Julius II Arese, whose noble stem is held by the wings by the armed angels who have reached the goddess’s side. The fresco thus seemed to suggest a warning to the nobles frequenting the mansion, of the Arese family’s power, represented by the arms held by the angels, and placed at the service of the Spanish reign destined to return to its former glory thanks to the support of the Milanese nobility.  The vault surrounding the painting is adorned with 18th-century decor which is sadly ruined, with cornices in the form of scrolls, figures of cupids and vases of flowers, probably commissioned by Renato III Arese Borromeo, after the death of his father, Giovanni Benedetto, in 1744. Previously, the lunettes contained a series of octagonal portraits depicting some European princesses, today kept at the Borromeo Mansion in Isola Madre.