1. Doria Antonio - Doria Spinola
largo Lanfranco, 1



PALAZZO DORIA-SPINOLA

Aree tematiche

Edificato poco prima della metà del XVI secolo (1541-43) per volontà di Andrea Doria, il palazzo, oggi sede della Prefettura e della Città Metropolitana di Genova, sorse su un’area a ridosso della prima cerchia muraria, solitamente priva di costruzioni, e in vicinanza dell’antico convento di Santa Caterina. Passato in proprietà di Giovanni Battista Spinola, del ramo di San Luca, Duca di San Pietro nel 1624, il palazzo giunge al Comune di Genova nel 1876 e, già nell’anno successivo, subirà una importante serie di adeguamenti e modifiche sia per la sistemazione dei nuovi uffici sia per l’apertura di via Roma, che imporrà pesanti demolizioni.
Un committente d’eccezione, Antonio – imparentato con Andrea Doria e, come lui, impegnato negli asientos e insignito della prestigiosa onorificenza del Toson d’Oro da parte di Carlo V d’Asburgo -, che fu tra i primi a importare in città i modelli architettonici rinascimentali, costruendo “largo e con cortile” prima ancora dell’apertura dei cantieri di Strada Nuova. Modelli nuovi, quindi, che trovano compimento nella composizione degli spazi interni ed esterni e delle modalità con le quali l’edificio si pone in dialogo con l’intorno. Un progetto definito, con tutta probabilità dal lombardo Bernardino Cantone, dal 1546 architetto camerale della Repubblica che, di lì a poco, si troverà a lavorare per la realizzazione di molti dei palazzi di Strada Nuova e nel grande cantiere della Basilica di Carignano sotto il coordinamento dell’architetto perugino Galeazzo Alessi.
Cuore rappresentativo della dimora è quindi il sistema atrio-cortile cui si sovrappone la galleria loggiata del primo piano, alla quale si accede attraverso uno scalone monumentale a doppia rampa. Una loggia che diviene, per le stanze che vi si affacciano, vero e proprio riferimento compositivo: i vari ambienti, infatti, si distribuiscono senza criteri di simmetria riferendo la propria posizione unicamente in funzione dello spazio di rappresentanza definito dallo spazio aperto del cortile-loggiato. Un dialogo, quello tra interno ed esterno, che viene ribadito anche dalla presenza del giardino, oggi scomparso, che si sviluppava alle spalle dell’edificio, in asse con il cortile stesso, conferendo quindi ulteriore respiro e grandiosità alla costruzione secondo un modello che verrà poi reiterato nelle principali realizzazioni cinquecentesche cittadine (e non solo). Contribuisce a questa dimensione di ampio respiro anche la decorazione che il Doria commissiona ai principali artisti e frescanti del momento: se l’atrio (Marcantonio Calvi, Trionfo di Antonio Doria) e le facciate dipinte (opera di Lazzaro e Pantaleo Calvi, Trionfi degli antichi romani) sono infatti connotate da episodi di battaglie e riferimenti alle glorie militari familiari, è nel loggiato e, soprattutto, negli ambienti interno del primo piano che si nota ulteriormente l’attenzione del committente per le “ultime novità”. Sulle pareti della loggia, Aurelio e Felice Calvi realizzano vedute prospettiche di città, un modello decorativo unico nel genovesato seppur condiviso delle più aggiornate e colte committenze dell’epoca.
La sala principale e il salotti contiguo sono connotate invece da due opere di mano di Giovanni Cambiaso e del giovane figlio Luca: Apollo che saetta i Greci alle porte di Troia e Ercole in lotta con le Amazzoni rielaborano le novità michelangiolesche e quelle portate dal Beccafumi e Perin del Vaga nel cantiere di Fassolo.
Il passaggio agli Spinola segnerà l’inizio di un’ulteriore fase di grande interesse per l’edificio: è infatti per Maria Spinola, vedova di Giovanni Battista, che nel 1635 Bartolomeo Bianco costruisce una loggia sul lato di levante: demolita nel 1877 in conseguenza dell’apertura di via Roma, venne affrescata da Giovanni Battista Carlone e definiva, anche dal punto di vista decorativo – con la narrazione delle Imprese di Ambrogio e Federico Spinola – il principale spazio di rappresentanza nel quale veniva esposta la grande e ricca collezione di dipinti della famiglia che, come sappiamo da un inventario recentemente emerso tra le carte d’archivio, aveva dedicato grandissimi sforzi e ingenti capitali anche nella scelta di arredi e suppellettili.

 
Bibliografia aggiornata post 1998
E. Poleggi, Genova una civiltà di palazzi, Cinisello Balsamo (Milano) 2002, pp. 43-47 (Palazzo di Antonio Doria (1541-1543)).
R. Santamaria (a cura di), Palazzo Doria Spinola. Architettura e arredi di una dimora aristocratica genovese da un inventario del 1727, Recco 2011.


The Palazzo was built on its own, at the Acquasola gate in 1541-43, for Admiral Antonio Doria, Marchese of Santo Stefano d’Aveto, grandson of Andrea Doria.
The internal layout consists of an atrium, courtyard, side staircase with two flights and, on the first floor, the colonnaded gallery, which distributes the state apartments, on a non-symmetrical basis, over the front elevation and the living areas on the other sides. Its sole purpose seems to be to enhance the courtyard space and the high quality of its structure and decor. The square-plan courtyard with a double row of loggias features elegant stucco decoration with telamons alternating with female masks that the recent restoration (2002) has been able to date, in its current configuration, at the end of the Nineteenth Century. The external doorway was added at the end of the Sixteenth Century, with figures of armed warriors dressed in classical garb, Attic style, traditionally attributed to Taddeo Carlone.
In 1624, when it was transferred to the Spinola family, who would keep it up to the last century, Bartolomeo Bianco built a loggia to the east, which was later frescoed by Andrea Ansaldo, and added balconies and marble balustrades to the main elevation.

Between 1793-97, a floor was added to the Palazzo and in 1876 ownership was transferred to Genoa City Council. The opening of via Roma, in 1877, made it necessary to cut the right corner of the building at the junction with salita Santa Caterina, alter the height of the elevation and dispose of the garden. Sold to the Province of Genoa in 1879, the building underwent numerous alterations so that it could be used as offices.
The original layout remains documented solely by the Rubens illustrations (ed. 1652, Palazzo Antonio Doria, Marchese of Santo Stefano). Regarding Rubens drawings, Labò reports that, in 1938, when the façade was restored, clear traces appeared of the arches under the fanlight cornice: these, which were absolutely unique in Genoese architecture at that time, are by contrast quite common in Lombardy.
As for the question of to whom to attribute the design of the palazzo, Alizeri thought it was Montorsoli; an attractive theory, since it seems that the construction of the Palazzo started in 1541-43 when Montorsoli returned to Genoa, where he had already been in the service of Andrea Doria. However, this cannot be adequately substantiated either at documentary level or in reference to style. In 1958 Rotondi turned his attention to Lombardy and the Magistri Antelami and, picking up on the theory already put forward by Labò in 1932, suggested the name of Caranchetto. His final decision on the matter of the Palazzo’s decoration settled on Giovanni Battista Castello, known as the Bergamasco.
Based on documentary evidence, Poleggi identifies the name of Bernardino Cantone as the possible creator of the works. It should be noted that the scroll ornaments and stucco herms decorating the courtyard elevations appear to be overlaying an original fresco decoration applied to the extrados surfaces of the arches and in the pendentives, with quadratura and motifs with grotesques. Evidence of these decorations has been left in the top right-hand corner of the loggia but the decorations do not coincide with the overlaid stucco styling. When this fact is considered together with information on the material used and the quite eclectic style f the stucco reliefs, there is some doubt as to whether these decorations could have been applied at the same time as the building’s main distinctive decorative features. Given the delicate and complex nature of this critical question, for which there is still no adequate supporting documentation, a full analysis will be deferred to a later stage.
The main elevation, on largo Eros Lanfranco originally had six rows of windows, which is now reduced to five rows and one on the oblique side. The façade extends to the ground floor with a Finale Stone slab base, divided by mezzanine openings that reappear on the first and third floors. The marble doorway, added, as already mentioned, at the end of the Sixteenth Century, is located at the centre of the fa¸ade.
Between 1793-97, a floor was added to the Palazzo by raising the under-roof area and adding a new mezzanine. The original decoration is due to the brothers Lazzaro and Pantaleo Calvi (1541-43) and featured the following: the first floor bays contained imitation-bronze monochrome scenes depicting the “Triumphs of the ancient Romans”; pairs of recumbent figures were located above the straight trabeations of the first row of windows; the bays on the first mezzanine level contained monochrome panels with eagles, festoons and panoplies. A frieze of putti, divided by inscriptions, ran along the second floor parapet. The second piano nobile, in addition to a composite fluted pilaster in the corner, contained a figure of a “Standing figure of an armed man”; pairs of female figures were mounted on the arched tympanae of the windows.
The highly sought after Calvi workshop was once again involved with the interior decoration; Marcantonio was responsible for the fresco depicting the Feats of Captain Antonio Doria which adorns the vestibule vaulted ceiling, whilst the Warrior figures adorning the courtyard walls are attributable to his grandsons. Felice Calvi is the artist of the Celebrated city views decorating the walls of the upper loggia. These are vibrant and innocent views, very familiar to an aristocracy of navigators, merchants and financiers. The decorations of the antechamber and Prefect’s office, featuring Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and images from Greek-Roman mythology, are also attributable to the Calvi family; but the cornerstone of the palazzo’s decorations has to be the frescoes of Giovanni and Luca Cambiaso that adorn the vaulted ceilings of the Sala degli Arazzi depicting Stories of Hercules and the Salon featuring Apollo’s Revenge on the Greeks and the Stories of the Trojan War adorning the walls. The last fresco, in particular, documents the initial phase of Cambiaso’s painting, fully reflecting the mannerist poetics of the grandiose and dramatic images bearing down on the spectator, in the manner of the famous Fall of the Giants by Giulio Romano in Mantua and Perin del Vaga in Genoa in Andrea Doria’s villa in Fassolo. The colours, which are sombre with sudden gleams of light, also bear witness to Luca’s interest in nocturnal themes, a preference that in a certain sense could be said to anticipate the Caravaggio revolution.
piano nobile, in addition to a composite fluted pilaster in the corner, contained a figure of a “Standing figure of an armed man”; pairs of female figures were mounted on the arched tympanae of the windows.
The highly sought after Calvi workshop was once again involved with the interior decoration; Marcantonio was responsible for the fresco depicting the Feats of Captain Antonio Doria which adorns the vestibule vaulted ceiling, whilst the Warrior figures adorning the courtyard walls are attributable to his grandsons. Felice Calvi is the artist of the Celebrated city views decorating the walls of the upper loggia. These are vibrant and innocent views, very familiar to an aristocracy of navigators, merchants and financiers. The decorations of the antechamber and Prefect’s office, featuring Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and images from Greek-Roman mythology, are also attributable to the Calvi family; but the cornerstone of the palazzo’s decorations has to be the frescoes of Giovanni and Luca Cambiaso that adorn the vaulted ceilings of the Sala degli Arazzi depicting Stories of Hercules and the Salon featuring Apollo’s Revenge on the Greeks and the Stories of the Trojan War adorning the walls. The last fresco, in particular, documents the initial phase of Cambiaso’s painting, fully reflecting the mannerist poetics of the grandiose and dramatic images bearing down on the spectator, in the manner of the famous Fall of the Giants by Giulio Romano in Mantua and Perin del Vaga in Genoa in Andrea Doria’s villa in Fassolo. The colours, which are sombre with sudden gleams of light, also bear witness to Luca’s interest in nocturnal themes, a preference that in a certain sense could be said to anticipate the Caravaggio revolution.
 
 


I testi sono stati aggiornati grazie al progetto INSIDE STORIES finanziato a valere sui fondi – Legge 20 febbraio 2006, n. 77 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO