Gabinetto delle Stampe or delle Plance, or del Finto legno, gabinetto dei boesaggi (Prints or Plates Cabinet, or Imitation wood cabinet, Boisages cabinet), former apartment of the Dukes of Aosta, originally the Duchess of Aosta’s Buffetto chamber, her study.
This room is characterised by tempera decoration showing imitation wooden panelling stretching up to the ceiling, where there is an octagonal motif containing mythological characters and with a geometric star motif at the centre, surrounded by pentagons with eight medallions and pairs of divinities. Jove and Juno, Apollo and Diana, Mercury and Minerva, Mars and Venus. Dancers in the Pompeiian manner hold a chain of pearls tied with a Savoyard knot and with the initials of the newly-wed couple, Victor-Emmanuel and Maria Teresa of Austria. Ever since 23 July 1792, when first placed there, there have been prints on the walls; these were most probably removed during the Napoleonic occupation and replaced during the Restoration by canvases inspired by the same subjects attributed to Luigi Vacca. Currently, only a very damaged single lintel is preserved, depicting “A queen with two children and a vase of flowers”, put back in place in 2004.
The decoration of the room was undertaken by the Torricelli brothers, Rocco and Antonio Maria, probably in collaboration with Pietro Palmieri, who was himself a master of illusionistic decoration; it was he who painted the original lintels.
The inspiration for this room certainly came from the similar example in Palazzo Grosso at Riva Presso Chieri, where the Torricellis also worked.
The room was furnished with six “cadreghe” (armchairs), six “taboretti” (stools), and two large sofas in “rosewood and violet to imitate veneer”.
The room was used by the town of Rivoli as a civic library.
Did you know?
At the end of the 18th century, Turin and Piedmont experienced the rediscovery of a variety of decorative styles, from the Antique to Medieval and Oriental: the casino at Venaria for Marchese Falletti di Barolo, who commissioned Leonardo Marini to produce an Egyptian Room, the designs by Giacomo Pregliasco for Giuseppina di Lorena at Racconigi, the garden of which was to contain a gothic church, a mosque, a hermitage and a “Chinese-style” boat, the decorations of Palazzo Mazzetti at Riva Presso Chieri commissioned by Faustina Mazzetti, which saw the involvement of the Torricellis and Palmieri, who were then active in Rivoli for the Dukes of Aosta. In England, Robert Adam introduced Pompeiian and Etruscan rooms into the homes of the British aristocracy.
During that period, there were many sources of inspiration for the decoration: from the Recueil d’antiquités Egyptiennes, Etrusques et Romaines by Caylus to the texts of Piranesi, and Antichità di Ercolano, printed in Naples between 1757 an 1792 by the Accademia Ercolanense, and without forgetting Wincklemann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (“History of Ancient Art). These texts and prints provided the basis for the iconographies of the dancers and Olympian gods we find in the Sala del finto legno, for instance, and reappear in contemporary buildings throughout Europe, but also in the United States and in the courts of the Russian Czars.