Florence 1784 - 1855
Central panel | Caesar abandons Cleopatra
Side panels | Caesar at Rhodes; Caesar weeps over the image of Alexander; The triumvirate of Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus; Caesar lays a bridge over the Rhine; Caesar at the Rubicon River; Caesar at the Anio River; Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus; Caesar saves his Commentarii; Caesar perpetual dictator; Caesar forgives Ligarius
The solemn character and quality of the frescoes in this room still testify to the key ceremonial role this room played for Leopold II. Unsurprisingly, the Grand Duke entrusted its execution to Giuseppe Bezzuoli, well established as a leading figure in Romantic painting.
Even the chosen subject could not be more eloquent: it is a complex series recounting, in eleven salient scenes, the stories of Julius Caesar, exemplar of military prowess and an attachment to one's homeland, for which every ruler should strive.
The scenes are not arranged in chronological order, but rather according to an aesthetic criterion, alternating between concussive battle scenes and more reflective panels populated by few characters. Carefully scattered accents of electric blue guide the eye through the crowds.
However, the viewer's attention is caught by the central panel, in which we see Caesar leaving Egypt to return to Rome and his duties, abandoning Queen Cleopatra, who faints from grief. The leader casts one last glance at her as he walks away, sanctioning the pre-eminence of public interest over personal interest and the triumph of intellect over the senses.
With the arrival of Victor Emmanuel II, the ceremonial rooms were moved to the garden-facing side of the Palazzina, and this room was chosen as the king's personal bedroom.