Telescope Hall

Particolare dello decorazione pittorica della Sala di Cerere, Pomona e Saturno (Fototeca ISAL-BAMS Photo Rodella)
Detail of the pictorial decoration of the Hall of Ceres, Pomona and Saturn (Archive of the Province of Monza and Brianza)


Among the few halls of the “villa of delights” of Limbiate where one can still admire frescoes, the so-called Telescope Hall – today transformed into a classroom – is worthy of note. Located on the ground floor of the villa, adjacent to the other frescoed hall called the Hall of Ceres, Pomona and Saturn, this room was painted by the Cremona artist, Giovan Angelo Borroni. He executed the works upon the commission of Giuseppe Angelo Crivelli within the framework of the renovation of the villa after it was bought by the Crivelli family.

Also this work is traced to the fourth decade of the 18th century because of the style used by the Borroni which recalls the pictorial serials achieved between 1730 and 1753 for the Clerici, Cusani and Stanga villas in Milan and for those of Alari Visconti in Cernusco and Carones Brentano in Corbetta.
The pictorial work depicts Hercules after he had tamed the Nemean Lion. He is wearing a laurel crown and had just accomplished the first of the 12 labours. Beside him is a youthful Winged Victory asleep, and holding an overturned tibicen, a kind of flute which the Romans used to play during private ceremonies, in theatrical presentations and also in funerals. Above him, is Juno with a crown, holding a trumpet and who seems to be placing a laurel crown at the foot of a pyramidal sepulchre. The depiction is a complex one, and conceals a precise, iconographic design of a clearly political and allegoric value of the commissioner.
Though no longer youthful, Hercules still shows his muscular build, identified with the victories of Charles VI over France and the Ottoman Empire that ended between 1713 and 1718. The sleeping Victory instead, recalls the conclusion of the peace treaty of Vienna in 1738 and the Peace of Belgrade in 1739, all accomplishments of the deceased Emperor. In the upper part of the painting is the daughter, Maria Teresa, represented as Juno, queen of the sky with a laurel crown, paying homage to the tomb of her father. Serene and peaceful, she accepts the fate the gods have inscribed for her, calling her to succeed her father on the throne, as suggested by the tiny Erotes approaching the woman with the imperial crown in hand.
Thus with this fresco, the Crivelli family wished to declare their utmost loyalty to the Hapsburg crown and participate in the mourning of the Empress Maria Teresa of Austria for the loss of her father, Charles VI of Habsburg, that occurred on 20 October 1740.