The gardens of the Villa Medici maintains a XVIth century style.
Ferdinando de' Medici bought the domain in 1576.
At the end of the 15th century the group of Niobids was discovered by archaeological excavation. Ferdinando de' Medici bought it and put it at the end of a lawn in his garden. Although the gardens lost most of their sculptures, they kept their essential design until the end of the 19th century.
The design of the plots in front of the villa was apparently modified under the directorship of Ingres. Umbrella pines were added. They are now a distinctive element of the Villa. The painter Balthus, director of the Villa (1960-1977) changed some elements in order to restore the Villa's old prestige.
The sumptuous decor of Niobides unveils the fate reserved to those who dare to challenge the power of Gods. In ancient Greek mythology, Niobe, wife of the king of Thebes, Amphion, was the proud mother of seven sons and seven daughters. She mocked Leto, who only gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. They retaliated by killing Niobe's children with arrows. Then Niobe asked and was granted her request by Zeus to be changed into a crying statue.
Shot & edited by Tanguy de Thuret
Location: L'Académie de France à Rome / Villa Médicis , Italy.
Music: Michael Nyman "An Eye For Optical Theory" from Peter Greenaway's film : "The Draughtsman's Contract" (1982 ). The use of the music is not for commercial purposes.
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