- The Collection
- In depth
- In Depth.The fresco by Luca Giordano on the ceiling of the Cason
- The iconographic programme
- The Founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece
The Founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Hercules hands over the fleece to Philip the Good in an episode representing the mythical founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
The Allegory of the Golden Fleece is an homage to the Spanish monarchy created during the reign of the last king of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. It commemorates the founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece, created by the Dukes of Burgundy and brought to Spain by Charles I, who belonged to the Burgundian house. Giordano depicts a celestial sphere with the signs of the zodiac and the emblem of the Order hanging from it, surrounded by a large number of allegorical figures referring to the political power of the monarchy.
The scene is given its mythological context through the prow of the Argo, the ship on which the Argonauts travelled to capture the Fleece, led by the hero Jason. Neptune, Amphitrite and various nymphs represent the sea. Giordano took some licence in replacing Hercules with Jason.
These motifs are crowned by the coat-of-arms of territories under Habsburg rule, protected by the Sun, namely the kingdoms of Castile and Leon, Aragon, Sicily, Granada, Austria, Burgundy, Brabant, Flanders and the Tyrol. On either side are nymphs bearing a diadem (symbol of royalty) and an olive branch (symbol of peace).
The celestial vault also includes the constellations of Gemini, Argos, Taurus, Leo, and Draco and a scene on Parnassus with the gods of Olympus presided over by Jupiter and the eagle that identifies him.
In the corners of this part of the ceiling are various episodes involving Hercules, including his combat with the Giants on the left. Depicted on the right is his combat with Antaeus.