The dream of Solomon
Luigi Sabatelli (Firenze 1772 – Milano 1850)
Luigi Sabatelli trained at the Florentine Fine Arts Academy and, appreciated by the Bourbon regents and then by the Lorraine grand dukes who had returned to Tuscany after Napoleon's defeat, received several major commission included the decoration of Maria Luisa di Borbone's bedroom in the Palazzina della Meridiana in the Pitti Palace with the theme of Solomon's Dream. This was followed in the following decades by the impressive undertaking of the decoration of the Iliad Room on the piano nobile of Pitti Palace.
The biblical episode taken from the Third Book of Kings, tells how the king of Israel, successor to the throne following the death of his father David and still a young, inexperienced boy, prayed to God in a dream, asking him to grant him the wisdom he needed to govern his people fairly. For Marie Louise, the ancient theme was chosen as an allusion to the hope that her son, twelve-year-old Charles Louis - in whose name she was regent after the death of her husband, Louis I, in 1803 - would govern in the future. It was a clear reference to the Florentine politics of that period, skillfully highlighted by Sabatelli who inserts into the composition elements of Empire-style furniture similar to those then being located in the Meridiana, such as the sumptuous bed where Solomon rests, and the round table where the crown is placed, metaphorically almost hovering in the balance.
I. Ciseri, La Palazzina della Meridiana: oltre due secoli di storia, in Vivere a Pitti. Una reggia dai Medici ai Savoia, a cura di C. Bertelli, R. Pasta, Firenze 2003, pp. 463-486