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 Captains
Conservators' Apartment - Hall of the Captains
The frescoes on the wall, by Tommaso Laureti, date back to the end of the XVI century. They refer to the early Republican Age and portray exemplary episodes of ancient Roman valour in the form of tapestries.
The Room also contains stone tablets and portrait statues commemorating famous men and Captains of the Pontifical Militia.
The fresco decoration of the hall was carried out between 1587 and 1594 by Tommaso Laureti (1530-1602), who trained in the atelier of Sebastiano del Piombo.
Some episodes of bravery and civic virtues of the first period of the Republic are narrated with chromatic and impressive vivacity, ideally continuing the tale of the Horatii and Curatii (both rooms reproduce the decoration themes made in the first decade of 1500 and lost after the architectural renovation of the spaces).
Brutus’ Justice: the subject of the fresco is a little-known episode narrated by the historian Livy. The first consuls of the Republic, Brutus and Collatinus, see the assassination of Brutus’s sons, sentenced to death for high treason. For its symbolic meaning, the fresco was painted on the wall where the Court of the Conservators had been set up, with a Latin inscription “Diligite iustitiam” (Love Justice).
Mucius Scaevola before Porsena: the Roman hero, Mucius Scaevola, having failed to murder the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena, stoically thrusts his hand into the fire.
Horatius Cocles defending the Pons Sublicius: the scene represents Horatius Cocles fighting valiantly against his enemies, while the Romans were destroying the Sublicio bridge to defend the city from the Etruscans.
Victory at Lake Regillus: the Dioscuri, the mythical twin sons of Jupiter, lead the Roman army to victory in the battle against the Latins at Lake Regillus.
Also noteworthy is the coffered ceiling with painted scenes from the “Jerusalem Delivered”. The paintings, attributed to Francesco Allegrini (1587-1663), were transferred to the Capitol after 1930 after the destruction of Palazzo Mattei Paganica, from which they come. The carved wooden doors were made in 1643.