The cardinal virtues

La Fortezza e la Temperanza di A.A. Falaschi - The cardinal virtues
Oil painting on canvas
Anton Angelo Falaschi
cm. 50×20


A signed and dated 1756 sketch probably for a painting on the side of the dome of the Gonfalone. In the foreground are two figures identified as Fortitude and Temperance. The group is relaxing on a cloud that seems to float freely in an unreal space: the sky in the background is shown with  tenuous colors. Fortitude holds a grey shield with gold border and top in the right hand while the left hand holds a long lance associated with heroism. She is dressed in cold armor with zoomophic décor on the shoulder and a gilded fringe that falls over the legs. The red cape covers part of the arm and left leg and further cover is given by a blue cloth while the head has a helmet with a three color crest. Temperance instead has a light yellow dress with brown border. The right arm is covered by a white cloth covering to the knee. She holds a horse bit in her hands. In the upper part of the painting one can see a lunet with the Latin inscription naming the painter and date 1756. In the same show case is a sketch with Prudence and Justice that is badly damaged and difficult to read. These sketches never became paintings for the church’s interior.


An artist of little personality who gained his first notions of design and painting from Francesco Maria Bonifazi (1722) then went to Rome for some years. His limited known production shows weakness in design and knowledge of anatomy and perspective, and according to Noris Angeli he was  poor in chromatic effects.  We  must take with a grain of salt even the dates of his birth (1710) and death (1756) given by Mario Signorelli. Major surety is given in the biographical data of Simonetta Angeli and Fulvio Ricci who put the date of his death in 1768 at the age of 67.



– A.Scriattoli,Viterbo nei suoi monumenti, Viterbo 1988,pp. 185, 186, 203, 204, 414.
– I.Faldi, Pittori viterbesi di cinque secoli, Roma 1970,pp.74, 76-78, 344, 346,354.
– N.Angeli, Chiesa del Gonfalone in Viterbo, Viterbo 2007, pp.33, 36,37.
– Archivio Diocesano di Viterbo, Visite pastorali del cardinale Gaetano Bedini, vol.1-III,Viterbo 1865, foglio 80 retro.

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