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 Triumphs
Conservators' Apartment - Hall of the Triumphs
The frescoed frieze which runs along the upper part of the walls was commissioned from Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti in 1569.
It portrays the Triumph of Lucius Aemilius Paullus over the King of Macedonia Perseus with the Capitoline and the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the background.
The coffered wooden ceiling is the only one left among those carried out in the Palazzo by Flaminio Bolonger.
This room also contains some large bronze sculptures: the Capitoline Brutus, the Spinario and the Camillus.
The hall takes its name from a fresco that runs below the ceiling, which depicts the triumph of the Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus over Perseus, king of Macedon (167 BC). The fresco, which was painted in 1569 by Michele Alberti and Jacopo Rocchetti, faithfully describes the ceremony as told by of the Greek historian Plutarch, goods and works stolen from the enemy as spoils of war were paraded for four days. The places and the buildings of Renaissance Rome are the backdrop of the sumptuous procession of the winner up to the Capitol, recognizable for its depiction of the new facade of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which in those years was being built.
The magnificent triumphal processions are also evoked by the beautiful bronze vase kept in the room. The work is likely to have come to Rome as a booty of the war of conquest in the East in the I century BC. An inscription engraved on the board shows the name of Mithridates VI (Eupator Dionysius), king of Pontus between 120 and 63 BC.
The hall displays, among other works, some precious antique bronzes: the Boy with Thorn, also known as Cavaspina, which reproduces a young man removing a thorn from his foot, an eclectic work of the first century BC., and Camillus, also known as the Gypsy, representing a young cult officiant, both works were donated by Sixtus IV in 1471. The Capitoline Brutus is outstanding, one of the oldest Roman portraits, dating from the fourth or third century BC, it was donated in 1564 to the Capitol.
The wooden ceiling was carved in 1568 by Bolonger; the recent restoration has brought to light the elegant tone of colour, besides the abundance and variety of carvings.