The walls of the Hall of the Months in Palazzo Schifanoia, in Ferrara, were frescoed by various artists – including Ercole de’ Roberti, one of House of Este’s painters during the Renaissance. Art historian and critic Roberto Longhi has written about him:
“Here, a new madness exploded in Ferrara’s art: this young painter […] even found a way to invent his own personal Cubism, feisty and fanciful.”
The frescoes of Palazzo Schifanoia were painted between July 1469 and March 1470, and make up a large-scale calendar divided into twelve sections, each one dedicated to a month of the year with three parts: on top, a divinity from classic Greek mythology; in the middle, symbols of the zodiac signs and of the three decades; and on the bottom, scenes of bucolic life.
Borso d’Este – duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio – entrusted the calendar to the group of painters that Roberto Longhi called “officina di Ferrara” (which generated “fantastic, astrological and myth-worshipping traditions”). Their frescoes were “so successful they were taken as the model for the ‘Months’ Achille Funi created in 1935 for the Arengo Hall in Ferrara; they also opened ‘Fantasia degli italiani’, the iconographic itinerary Raffaele Carrieri created with Gio Ponti in 1939” (translated from G. Lupo, “Poesia come pittura”, Vita e Pensiero, Milan 2002).
Here is a selection of images from this wonderful cycle.