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CultureBecause of a family dispute: An Italian princess was evicted from a...

Because of a family dispute: An Italian princess was evicted from a one-of-a-kind villa

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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The villa houses the only known ceiling painting by the Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Texas-born Princess Rita Boncompani Ludovisi, the widow of Prince Nicolo Boncompani Ludovisi, has been evicted from a villa in Rome with a unique Caravaggio fresco over a long-running inheritance dispute, dpa and Reuters reported.

Italian carabinieri escorted Texas-born and raised Rita Boncompani Ludovisi, 73, from the villa that houses the only known ceiling painting by Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Half of the property is her property according to a will, and the other half – the late Prince Nicolo left to his sons from his first marriage. He died in 2018.

As part of the inheritance dispute, several failed attempts have been made to auction the historic building, called Aurora, for around €140 million, and now a court has ordered the villa to be vacated.

According to the sons of Prince Boncompani Ludovisi, the princess does not take care of the house properly and offers paid guided tours without permission.

One of the heirs of the late prince explained that the villa should be extensively renovated.

The villa was built in 1570 and has belonged to the Ludovizi family since the beginning of the 17th century. In 1597, Cardinal Del Monte, a diplomat and patron of the arts, commissioned Caravaggio, then in his early 20s, to paint the ceiling of a small room on the first floor, which he used as an alchemical laboratory. The 2.75 meter wide mural is painted in oil directly on the plaster and depicts an allegorical scene with the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto representing the transmutation of lead into gold. Caravaggio painted his own face and body on each of the three figures.

The villa owes its name to a fresco by another Baroque artist, Guercino, which adorns the huge ceiling of the entrance hall and depicts Aurora, the goddess of the dawn, riding a chariot.

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