The Villa Farnesina, Palace of Venus in Renaissance Rome


The frescoes of Peruzzi, Raphael and Sodoma still dazzle visitors to the Villa Farnesina, but they survive in a stripped-down environment bereft of its landscape, sealed so it cannot breathe. Turner takes you outside that box, restoring these canonical images to their original context, when each element joined in a productive conversation. He is the first to reconstruct the architect-painter Peruzzi's original, well-proportioned, well-appointed building and to re-visualize his lost façade decoration‒erotic scenes and mythological figures who make it come alive and soar upward. More comprehensively than any previous scholar, he reintegrates painting, sculpture, architecture, garden design, topographical prints and drawings, archaeological discoveries and literature from the brilliant circle around the patron Agostino Chigi, the powerful banker who 'loved all virtuosi' and commissioned his villa-palazzo from the best talents in multiple arts. It can now be understood as a Palace of Venus, celebrating aesthetic, social and erotic pleasure.

  • The first comprehensive study in English of the Villa Farnesina
  • Thoroughly researched, this book examines almost every document, drawing and published source on the topic
  • Includes abundant visual documentation drawing on some ninety-five sites, museums, libraries and private art collections – some images never published before
James Grantham Turner
Publication date: 
September 28, 2022
Publication type: