The Hall of Ruins owes its name to the rich, wall fresco decorations depicting monumental ruins on which the vegetation thrives. The landscapes are separated by precise architectonic fresco frames, composed of an ample architrave with festoons held up by a system of pilasters with big masks, in which the light corresponds to real light coming from doors and windows. Inside the frames, one can see Roman ruins born from absolute imagination or inspired by reality freely interpreted by the painter. On the northern wall, for example above the fireplace, is the portrayal of the Coliseum, flanked by the eponymous Colossus of Nero-Elio, and at his side a personage who is drawing his portrait, probably the draft of the self-portrait of the artist.
Critiques have assigned all the “woodland” portrayals inside the Palace to the Milanese painter, Giovanni Ghisolfi (1623-1683), trained in Rome in the circle of Salvator Rosa and who specialized precisely in the art of portraying ruins, a style that was the subject of the most touristic painting workshops in Milan and Lombardy in those times.
Above the fireplace, rebuilt over the preexisting one, is an imposing “stem of alliance” held up by cupids. It contains, besides the Arese family’s motto, the joint emblems of the Arese, Omodei and Visconti di Brebbia families, to testify and guarantee the solidity of the relationships between the various branches of the family.
On the whole, the hall differs from the adjacent ones which almost vaunt the primacy of nature, while the predominance of the architectures, are products of human genius and thus, of culture. It is a victory which seems to be brief with respect to the eternity of nature, here proposed in a grandiose manner also in the landscape scenery, conferring to the building an almost ephemeral aspect. The architecture in ruins was extraordinarily diffused during the Baroque era precisely because of their suggestively “corrupted” forms invaded by nature that exemplified perfectly the concept of time that flows without pause, inexorably modifying even the best and most solid human constructions. Being able to present a series of paintings of ruins within the noble homes and the “villas of delight”, furthermore represented the possibility to show the guests one’s own culture and historical-architectonic knowledge, albeit with particularly charming backgrounds, and in some cases with really evident modifications to what is thought of as a lost world.
In this hall, known in the palace inventories as the Room with a green bed, there is nonetheless the possibility to trace the plebian personages standing next to the nobles walking amidst the ruins. The paintings, in fact, suggest the presence of a varied social microcosm that at times, ended up in the grotesque and irreverence, since in the infinite variety of the scenes offered, the artist concealed all the vices of human behavior. Next to the miserable beggars and the nobles who were more interested in the dames than in what was happening around them, the artist portrays also half-naked men in the despicable act of satisfying their physiological needs, and almost defying the viewer. The painted Hall constitutes, therefore, an almost infinite sequence of single shots recorded by the artist, He has inserted here, the behaviour of human beings in a sole unitary context, offering to the masters of the house and to the guests, amusement and the possibility to scrutinise and reflect on the multiform staging of human comedy.