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P.22 West Wall

P.22 The West Wall

Fig.P.22, WestWall, a bw, whole wall
Fig.P.22, WestWall, b stucco right
Fig.P.22, WestWall, c bw, stucco right
Fig.P.22, WestWall, d bw, stucco left
Fig.Paneling West Wall

The center decoration of this wall and all the wood paneling were destroyed in the seventeenth century when the present doorway was built, beginning in 1639. Rosso’s upright oval oil panel painting of Venus and Cupid (and Psyche?) disappeared at this time.1  Originally the missing stucco decoration must have resembled what was on the East Wall as known from d’Orbay’s drawing (see above).  But it was probably not identical to that decoration.  The nineteenth century painting above the door is copied from Boyvin’s engraving of Rosso’s Contest of Athena and Poseidon (see above under “East Wall,” and E.13).  The stucco above it is of the seventeenth century or later.2  It should be noted that the two side panels of this wall are not of the same width, the one on the left being slightly wider (with three panels of wainscoting beneath while there are only two and a small strip at the right side; Béguin and Pressouyre, “Cadre architectural,” 1972, p.20, p.21, Fig. 21, wrongly as East Wall; Fig.Paneling West Wall).

PRINTS: E.68.  Fantuzzi, Fortune giving Drink to a Young Prince (E.68).  This etching shows, in reverse, the scene of the round stucco relief on the right side of this wall.  But there are many differences that indicate that the print was not copied from the relief.  The architecture in the background is entirely different, Fortune has a band under her breasts in the relief, no drapery under her but a length of drapery flying out behind her that is unlike what is seen in the etching.  Fortune’s wheel is also designed differently.  The tops of the prince’s boots — although his toes are visible – have long pieces of what look like fur hanging from them in the etching while the relief shows a much simpler cut decoration.  The etching is probably based on a lost drawing by Rosso, the composition of which was altered in a later drawing used by the stuccoer.

E.56,1.  Du Cerceau, Cartouche with embracing children.  Herbet stated that this print, which I have not seen, is related to the decoration of the West Wall.

E.57,1.  Du Cerceau, Cartouche framing an upright blank oval with a standing woman at the left and a nude man at the right, each with a shield at the side and a garland hanging from above and falling over their outside shoulders.  This cartouche could be related to what originally appeared in the center of the West Wall, assuming that Du Cerceau may have made modifications.

E.149.  Anonymous, Oval cartouche framing Mars and Venus viewed by Vulcan (E.149).  The embracing putti at the bottom of the cartouche are related to those beneath the roundels of the West Wall.

COPY, DRAWING: Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Institute, ms. 1015, fol 4, left half of a sketch (Fig.Percier drawing 2).  Charles Percier, Copy of the right half of the wall.  Watercolor.  “Galerie,” RdA, 1972, 33, Fig. 47, 34, 43, no. 47.  This drawing of around 1800 shows the wall with, it seems, Poerson’s Victory Crowning Francis I of around 1710 over the door which in the nineteenth century was replaced by the Contest of Athena and Poseidon.


1Béguin, in La Renaissance, Quebec, 1984, 327, no. 196, with Fig., suggested that a drawing of Two Vases and a Leg in a private collection might be related to Rosso’s lost Venus and Cupid.  But the details of the vases do not seem to me to be of the kind that Rosso used (see note under RP.17).

2 On the somewhat complicated history of this wall, see Herbet, II, 1896, 277-278 (1969, 73-74) under 26; Herbet, 1937, 183-185, where Rosso’s painting is given as a fresco; Zerner, 1972, 115; Pressouyre, “Cadre architectural,” 1972, 15; and Lossky, 1974, 48, 50-51, and ns. 19 and 20; and Béguin, 1989, 830.  Lossky’s suggestion that Vasari was mistaken in his indication that a panel painting was in the center of this wall is certainly wrong.  Much of the decoration of this wall survives to indicate that originally it resembled the East Wall known from d’Orbay’s drawing.