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47#18 Genova, Palazzo Balbi Senarega 2 (FacoltÓ di Lettere e Filosofia)
41.8 x 52.3 cm / 16.3 x 20.4 in
Provided by the artist - Thomas Kellner
The Palazzo Balbi Senarega was constructed between 1618 and 1620 to a plan by the architect Bartolomeo Bianco. The palace is the home of several of the departments of the University's Faculty of Literature and Philosophy. The building was designed over two floors, and has been frescoed by D. Piola, V. Castello, G. and L. De Ferrari, and D. Fiasella - the result of two investors Giacomo and Pantaleo wishing to add to the splendour of the building. It also has a fabulous garden complete with a pond full of lilies which was recently restored.
Magnificence and Luminescence behind Gates
Genoa is a city whose numerous narrow, centuries-old alleys with houses wind themselves alongside the hills. On summer days, the heat and humidity are captured here. Sometimes, there is a light breeze and I try to dry my wet forehead by turning my head to put together a clear thought. I did not come to this city from the harbor or the open sea. My first impressions were from the air. From a taxi into the city - over mountain roads similar to those where I live - through tunnels which they would like to build back home - I landed directly next to the Via Garibaldi. Many different ideas drove me into different corners of the city. Some of them I wanted to tackle, but all of a sudden I was captured by this city and my commission. My profession held me tightly between the palace walls - into a city, into another time and into the buildings whose thick gates seemed to block me from entering.
In the broad streets of the Via Garibaldi and Via Balbi, it was a different type of confinement. The mighty palaces bore witness to power and wealth, stood in a straight row and stretched their thick walls toward me. I went through the large gates and any thoughts I had of narrow depressing alleys between high walls all vanished. It was as if I were stepping into an ethereal lightness. Stepping through these courtyards, flights of stairways and galleries was similar to drifting into a magnificent and affluent past. Glaring sunlight, shadows between the arches and columns, a light breeze and thick walls that defend against the heat - voices died away to a broad mumbling in the courtyards. Old doors fell into their well-oiled locks. Gates spiked with defensive points did allow entry to the visitor. Behind many a door shone the magnificent and light worlds of palaces from another time.
Often, a friendly porter would nod in response to my questioning and bobbing photography movements, and I could thankfully invite these palaces to dance with my camera.