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One of the most precious artistic elements inside the Palace of the Government, which hosted significant historical events such as the anti-Bourbon rebellion of 15 march 1844, Garibaldi's visit and the stay of the Sovereigns Umberto and Margherita of Savoy, is undoubtedly the Hall of the Provincial Council.
The proposal for the Hall, which was destined to be an audience room for Council meetings, was submitted by Mr. Pancaro on January 22, 1875. Here are some of the excerpts: "(...)
Artistic project for the new hall of the Provincial Council...for 81.000 lire (...). The Jurist Starnile suggests to invest Michele Trotta from S.Benedetto Ullano with the decoration works and he also recommends Mr. Veltri (...)".
Decoration works speeded up in 1878 when Cosenza was ready to host the Sovereigns Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy: "(...)
Since the King and the Queen of Italy are coming to Cosenza, I determine that the new Hall of the Provincial Council shall be decorated with the utmost haste (...)". (My translation from the Italian document: ATTI, cit. 1874-Cosenza-Ospizio redenzione Press, 1876, page 111)
The Hall's iconographic program features landscapes, anthropomorphic figures and floral decorations in the bottom painting cycle whereas, in the central one, there are four medallions representing the busts of some illustrious men from Cosenza and four big portraits of Italian men pivotal to the history and culture of the nation and somehow linked to the destiny of Calabria. These men are Antonio Serra, Gaetano Argento, Ruggero d'Altavilla and Frederick II (the latter two look severe, meditative and exhibit their royal attributes), Dante, Machiavelli, Bernardino Telesio and Gian Vincenzo Gravina. Above the paintings, some putti symbolizing the activities of the Province of Cosenza are depicted. The ceiling shows a pictorial decoration celebrating its triumph, and next to it the personifications of Peace and Mars (two opposite moments coexisting in every government), the symbols of the Savoy Royal Family and various allegories. If we analyse the men represented in the paintings we find out that they all belong to the intellectual property of Cosenza and to the Italian historical and literary tradition; for this reason the person who hypothetically commissioned the work longed to celebrate local outstanding figures and, at the same time, the Nation as a whole. The men depicted apparently have nothing to share, but there is indeed a common thread: they all show interest towards jurisprudence, economy, politics, literature and philosophy, that is to say those disciplines that exercise the human intellect by guiding it towards understanding correctly and managing reality. The Palace of the Government can actually be called the Pantheon of Cosenza because the most important hall of the building features the portraits of those people that "(...)
con la spada, la penna, il pennello e la religione diedero lustro e decoro alla città di Cosenza" (through swards, pens, brushes and religion boosted and enriched the town of Cosenza).
Such an iconographic program, even if assigned to the Florentines Enrico and Federico Andreotti, would involve many other artists. However, it is often difficult to identify them because the two Florentines painted most of the hall while the other specialists working in the building site have usually no name. This young local talented men, such as Eugenio Tano, Michele Trotta and Angelo Mazzia, enrolled in the major Schools of Fine Arts of the nineteenth century and commissioned by the Province itself, were coordinated by the artistic culture of Federico Andreotti. By perfectly blending Tuscan and Neapolitan experiences, they made what they were commissioned to with great cunning and in respect of the Hall's function.