Rome: Palazzo Farnese, a Renaissance jewel in the heart of Rome and home to the embassy of France, is currently being transformed by the celebrated French street artist JR.
The façade of the majestic building has been covered with an installation offering passersby a virtual peep inside the palace which houses the famed Carracci Gallery, a 17th-century Baroque masterpiece.
The striking new illusion was first reported by the Facebook page Mo(n)stre which published a photo of the black and white work in progress last night.
The site-specific installation at Palazzo Farnese follows JR’s similar transformation of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, with La Ferita (The wound), which was created to spark a debate on the accessibility of culture in the era of covid-19.
The new street art installation is the latest artistic initiative involving the French embassy in Rome to make headlines.
Last week French artist Olivier Grossetête recreated Michelangelo’s never-built bridge linking Palazzo Farnese to Villa Farnesina on the other side of the Tiber with an 18-m long structure made entirely of cardboard.
The ephemeral ‘Ponte Farnese’ was suspended over the river with three large helium balloons. It was intended to remain in situ until 18 July but was taken down after just one night, for safety reasons, due to the threat of bad weather.
Currently undergoing restoration work, Palazzo Farnese has long played an important role in Rome’s history, politics and art.
Over the centuries it has hosted kings, popes, cardinals, artists and diplomats. Construction of the palace began in 1517 after a design by architect Antonio da Sangallo the younger.
On the death of Sangallo in 1546, Michelangelo took over the project, modifying Sangallo’s designs. When Michelangelo died in 1564 Giacomo della Porta oversaw work on the building until its completion in 1589.
Inherited by the Bourbon kings of Naples in the 17th century, the French government rented the palace for its embassy in 1874, buying the building from the Borboni in 1911.
In 1936 the palazzo was acquired by the Italian state which leased it back to France under a 99-year agreement.