Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. 9-10

List of Illustrations

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pp. 11-14

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Acknowledgements

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pp. 15-16

In the course of carrying out research, Gernando Colombardo and I have had the generous assistance of the staffs of many libraries. In the United States, we want to thank particularly JamesMcCabe, director of Fordham University Libraries; Linda Lo Schiavo, director of Fordham’s Quinn Library; and David Vassar, Charlotte Labbé, and DebbieWinkler, also on the Fordham University Library staff. Our thanks go to the New York Public Library, especially to ...

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Author's Note

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pp. 17-17

The cracks of history opened wide around the so-called castle of Cataio, built by Pio Enea Obizzi between 1570 and 1573 (illus. 2). The Obizzi name is no longer remembered, since the family became extinct in the early nineteenth century and the castle passed into other hands. The writer Giuseppe Betussi (ca. 1520–75), who conceived the saga on which is based the extraordinary cycle of forty frescoes on the walls of the castle’s six great galleries on the piano nobile, and the artist Battista...

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Foreword

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pp. 18-22

The smell of wet plaster is sharp. It catches the back of the throat with a metallic click. Plaster is not an inert substance. It is, in its damp state, an active mass of molecules, all arranging and rearranging themselves to eventually become the basis for the material that has for centuries been used to shape moldings or slide onto walls. When it eventually dries and is sanded, it glows with some inner light that separates it from mere white paint. In...

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Chapter One: Peering Through the Cracks of History

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pp. 23-36

Cataio lies within the borders of Battaglia Terme, a town about forty miles from Venice in the province of Padua (illus. 5). Documents show that “ca’ tajo” designated the cutoff where the land was excavated during the thirteenth century to make one of the canals that slice through the area. Legend had it that the name derived from Cathay, made famous in Italy by Marco Polo, and that the great castle that dominates the town was...

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Chapter Two: Forerunners of Betussi's Obizzi Saga

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pp. 37-44

Betussi did not exaggerate when he told his fictive tourists that the frescoed galleries of the castle at Cataio were unique.1 It was true, he explained as he guided them through the six great salons painted by Zelotti and assistants between 1570 and 1573, that many princes had brought their ancestors to life with portrait statues and paintings, and true, he acknowledged, that Cosimo I commissioned decorations that honored his family in the Palazzo ...

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Chapter Three: Zelotti's Frescoes at the Castle of Cataio

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pp. 45-132

At the entrance to the Grand Salon (illus. 17), Betussi establishes the context immediately, bringing to visitors’ attention three oil paintings on the ceiling that he identified as Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy, “the three kinds of government.”1 In each painting a group of figures in meaningful poses—standing, sitting, kneeling, reclining, turning this way and that—surround a principal figure at the center, personifications, respectively...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 133-136

Index

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pp. 137-143

Back Cover

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