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Viviano Codazzi, Exedra with the Opening of a Tomb
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
Material and technique
oil on canvas
145 x 196 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
The dramatic scene, with its highly unusual iconography, unfolds in the lower part of the painting, where a series of small figures are depicted in theatrical poses. Beside the colossal ruins of an entablature the diaphanous figure of a ghost or man raised from the dead emerges from an open tomb, causing the onlookers to flee in terror. The real subject of the painting, however, is the architecture. This type of composition appears in many works executed by Codazzi during his stay in Naples or immediately after 1647, when he returned to Rome. The ancient building, probably based on the ruins of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, has a composite colonnade resting on a tall base. At intervals along the partly ruined semi-circular wall are pilaster strips and niches and an arch through which a landscape with temple can be seen. The light shines down from the left, emphasizing the worn architectural elements and creating an evocative chiaroscuro.
The figures in the painting, like those in the companion Massacre of the Innocents, may have been painted by another artist, probably the Neapolitan Micco Spadaro. Codazzi, one of the leading painters of architectural vedute of the seventeenth century, often resorted to this type of collaboration.
Exedra with the Opening of a Tomb
Related Themes