The rooms making up the apartment on the first floor of the Palazzo, were used by the Conservators, or magistrates, for activities connected to their office; they therefore form a single entity, both as regards their function and their ornamental features. The rooms were also used for Public and Private Council meetings.
The rich decoration of these reception rooms (frescoes, stuccoes, carved ceilings and doors, tapestries) has as its main theme the history of Ancient Rome, from its foundation to the Republican Age.
The earliest cycle of frescoes goes back to the beginning of the XVI century.
The main floor of the Palace houses the Ceremonial Rooms of the Conservators, also known as the Apartment.
They are the oldest part of the Palace: some rooms preserve parts of the series of frescoes painted at the beginning of the XVI century, whereas the decorations of the other rooms were renewed after Michelangelo’s renovation.
The whole decoration of the Apartment, though it was painted separately and subsequently, present a uniform appearance dedicated to the extolling and memory of the virtues and value of the Ancients.
Some ancient bronze sculptures were also installed in these rooms: they were presented by Pope Sixtus IV to the Roman people due to their symbolic value, in memory of the greatness of Rome which the papal government intended to renew.
The donation of the Sistine bronzes is considered to be the foundation of Capitoline Museums, since then several works of art, sculpture and paintings of value, were collected in the Capitol.
Hall of the Tapestries
Conservators' Apartment - Hall of the Tapestries
The frescoed frieze, portraying scenes from the life of Scipio Africanus and embellished with reproductions of ancient statues, was carried out in the mid-XVI century at the same time as the gilded and carved wooden ceiling. In the XVIII century a throne was installed to be used during papal visits and the room was decorated with tapestries from the Roman factory of San Michele and richly carved furniture.
The cartoons of the tapestries by Domenico Corvi show historical and legendary episodes of ancient Rome, reproducing paintings by important artists, including Rubens and Poussin.
The Hall of the Tapestries is also known as the Throne Room, because in the XVIII century the throne of the pope was positioned here, since he was the sovereign of the city.
The precious tapestries adorning the walls were executed, in the second half of the Eighteenth century, by the Manifattura Romana di San Michele. The series of tapestries depicts important Roman scenes, busts of Roman emperors and trophies of arms.
The painter Domenico Corvi (1721-1803) drew the sketches, now collected at the Capitoline Museum. He oversaw the decoration of the Hall in every detail, from the faux marble wainscoting to the valuable doors and the painted window shutters. Rich gilt wood consoles were also positioned here.
The room retains the style of the XVI century, when Pope Paul III Farnese (1534-1549) fostered the renovation of the Conservatos’ Apartment.
The fresco frieze was completed in 1544, depicting scenes of Scipio Africanus’ life wich alternate with monochrome reproductions of famous ancient sculptures, including the Laocoön, the Apollo Belvedere and the gilded bronze Hercules. In the same years, it was also made a hexagonal coffered ceiling with rich gilded carvings and ceremonial weapons, whose preciousness was recently restored.