Giacomo Mally: Pietro Da Cortona’s Ceiling

By | 1 December 2010

(Sala Grande, Palazzo Barberini, Rome)

Riding their respective clouds Temperance,
Religion, Piety wax triumphant;
Fury, disarmed, reclines on his own weapons.
Thanks to Minerva, dunce giants get flunked.

Another twist of the neck and see Hercules
Clubbing the harpies of Avarice.
All the above to please a Barberini
And leading to the main event: Bomber bees,

More cardinal virtues scrambled to hand them
A laurel crown as Immortality raises,
For back up, a twelve star diadem.
Now add air-freighted tiara, St Peter’s keys.

Silenus has slipped the gaze of Providence:
The glorious slob, sprawled amidst plush green,
Orders one more drink and, satyr by chance
Made satirist, lushly steals the scene.

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