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Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Savoys in the Thirty Years' War

Palazzo Taffini (website) in Savigliano, Piemonte, NW Italy, is a 17th-18th century building, originally belonging to Colonel Camillo Taffini (+ 1629), a military leader in the service of Vittorio Amedeo I (1587-1637) of Savoy. Vittorio Amedeo was the son of Duke Carlo Emanuele I, one of the main sponsors of 'our friend' G. B. Marino; and Carlo Emanuele, in his turn, was the son of Emanuele Filiberto, probably the most valiant personage in the history of the Savoy dynasty.

The walls of the great hall are painted with episodes of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and other battles of that era, more or less connected with the "great war." In the picture, center: Vittorio Amedeo, and right, with a blue band across the armor: Taffini. Marino in his 1608 poem called Il Ritratto, the "Portrait" of Carlo Emanuele I, had predicted Vittorio Amedeo's future heroism and success, that basically happened -- of course, it was obvious to make such prophecies with reference of one's friends, but they would not always prove true. For example, again in the Ritratto, Marino described Carlo Emanuele as destined to become the King of whole Italy, or even the World Emperor!!

The most famous subjects in the wall paintings are the strong, beautiful horses. The artists, some disciples of the Baroque school of Giovanni Antonio Molineri, had a classical take on the battles, exalting the physical prowess of the knights and their steeds while relegating the cannons in the background, even if their role started to be quite significant in the 17th century. Cannons as a symbol of power are overtly exhibited, on the contrary, in the paintings by Giorgio Vasari in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.

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