Frieze for the Portico of Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano

lazed terracotta frieze depicting a number of figures in ancient dress.

Bertoldo di Giovanni (ca. 1440–1491) and collaborators
Frieze for the Portico of Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano, ca. 1490
Glazed terracotta
(Section 2): 22 7/8 × 122 7/16 in. (58 × 311 cm)
Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano, Polo Museale della Toscana
Gabinetto Fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Depicting the myth of the infancy of Jupiter or, in astrology, the birth of the age of Jupiter (and thus the age as a measure of time), this section begins at left with Saturn consuming a cloth-covered rock, which he believes to be his newborn son Jupiter. The infant, surreptitiously substituted with the rock by his mother Rhea, feeds on the milk of a goat and the honey of bees, whose hives are depicted at right. Rhea's attendants, the Corybantes, distract Saturn with the noise of their clashing swords. In the reading of the frieze in accordance with the Myth of Er, the section may represent the primordial origins of the just and unjust in the figures of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively. The Corybantes and bees are also related to themes of governance and may refer to the Medici's good governance.


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