© Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio Bologna

Name of Object:

Senator Ratta Banquet


Bologna, Italy

Holding Museum:

Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio



Type of object:



Etching: Giacomo Maria Giovannini (1667, Bologna – 1717, Parma); designer: Marco Antonio Chiarini (1652, Bologna – 1730, Bologna)

Period of activity:

Giacomo Maria Giovannini: seventeenth-eighteenth-century; Marco Antonio Chiarini: seventeenth-eighteenth-century

Museum Inventory Number:

Gabinetto dei disegni e delle Stampe, Cartella Gozzadini 2 n. 68

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Etching on paper

Place of production:



528 x 672 mm

Workshop / Movement:

Bolognese Late baroque


The print is part of the series Disegni del convito fatto dall'illustrissimo Signor Senatore Francesco Ratta all’Illustrissimo Publico, Eccelsi Signori Anziani, & altra Nobiltà terminando il suo Confalonierato Li 28 Febraro 1693, (Drawings of the banquet organized by the most illustrious senator Francesco Ratta to the most illustrious, distinguished and noble public including the supreme Anziani, and other noblemen to celebrate the end of his Gonfalonierato the 28th of February 1693), In Bologna, Per li Peri All’Angelo Custode, 1693


In this sumptuous installation which was organised by Francesco Ratta theatrical baroque pomp is evident. At the end of his charge, lasting two months, each Gonfaloniere had to offer a banquet at his expenses to his colleagues (the Anziani). It was a good occasion for exhibiting grandiosity, riches and celebrating family prestige, even if these heavy expenses were ultimately fatal to personal finances.
This spectacular banquet is documented by a series of eight prints. They portray the decoration of the open gallery with garlands and depict details of some of the interior decorations. The room in the residence once owned by the Vizzani family (nowadays Sanguinetti, Via S. Stefano, 43) has as its centerpiece a spectacular sugar trophy designed by the sculptor Giuseppe Maria Mazza: one-meter-high, wrought after the techniques of the glass masters of Murano by the confectioner Giovan Battista Zacarini. It is a surprisingly rocky mountain made of silver and veiled in green, reflective of the famous Bernini fountain in Piazza Navona, it is surrounded by the allegorical statues of the four rivers. From their urns is an outpouring of delicious food. This space is encompassed by a great table for 66 guests, which because of its round shape priority problems were averted. The room scenography bears the family heraldic symbols. Golden griffins and palm leaves clearly allude to the prosperity of Bologna during the government of Francesco Ratta. Along the green damask covered walls small mirrors are hung, tilted to multiply the original and artistic compositions of bottles and precious plates which are scattered all over. The Hall, painted by Tommaso Laureti (n. 1530 – m. 1602), shows in the middle of the ceiling Victory Presenting Fame with the World Conquered by Alexander the Great and a frieze with Alexander's adventures successively covered by new decorations.

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Current Owner:

Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio

How Object was obtained:

Bequest of Giovanni Gozzadini (1902).

Selected bibliography:

Mazza, G. La custodia d'oro goduta nel vigilantissimo Confalonierato dell'illustrissimo signor senatore Francesco Ratta e simboleggiata nel di lui sontuos.mo convito fatto all'ill.mo publico, & ecc.si sig.ri anziani il primo bimestre dell'anno 1693, Bologna, 1693.
Bellettini, P., Campioni, R. and Zanardi, Z. Una città in piazza, Comunicazione e vita quotidiana a Bologna tra Cinque e Seicento, Bologna, 2000, pp. 155-156, fig. 19.
Il magnifico apparato. Pubbliche funzioni, feste e giuochi bolognesi nel Settecento (exhibition catalogue) (ed. S. Camerini), Bologna, 1982, pp. 21-31.
Ottani Cavina, A. “Le feste, gli apparati d'occasione”, L'arte del Settecento emiliano. Architettura, scenografia, pittura di paesaggio (exhibition catalogue) (ed. A. M. Matteucci), Bologna, 1980, pp. 209-212, fig. 318-322.

Additional Copyright Information:

Copyright image: Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio di Bologna.

Citation of this web page:

Cristina  Bersani "Senator Ratta Banquet" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;it;Mus12_B;19;en&id=prints_and_drawings

Prepared by: Cristina BersaniCristina Bersani

SURNAME: Bersani
NAME: Cristina

AFFILIATION: Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna

TITLE: Curator of the Prints and Drawings Department

CV: Graduated and specialized in History of Art at theUniversity of Bologna. Since 1985 she is curator of the Prints and Drawings Department of the Archiginnasio Library.
She has written essays and organized exhibitions about drawings, prints and artistic literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in Bologna. She has also studied photographic collections, as well as the iconographies of the poets Giacomo Leopardi and Giosuè Carducci. She has given lectures and conferences for several public and private institutions.

Translation by: Antonella MampieriAntonella Mampieri

SURNAME: Mampieri
NAME: Antonella

AFFILIATION: Musei Civici d’Arte Antica, Bologna

TITLE: Art Hitorian

Graduated and specialised at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in Bolognese late Baroque art, namely sculpture. Among other subjects she has been studying nineteenth-century funerary art in the Bologna monumental cemetery, la Certosa.

Translation copyedited by: Lisa Kelman

MWNF Working Number: IT2 20