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The Monsters Of His Mind, 2nd Edition, Statement

The Monsters Of His Mind

In 1547, Prince Vicino Orsini commissioned work to begin on a park filled with twenty-four natural bedrock-sculpted art pieces. Most of these are based on grotesque figures of mythological origin that were important during this time period. The park, currently considered by many to be the first theme park, was called Bosco Sacro. It is known today as “Monster Park”, located in Bomarzo, Italy. It eventually became dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese, who died in 1560 before the park was completed. The Prince commissioned Pirro Ligorio, well-known at the time for finishing St. Peter’s Basilica after Michelangelo died, to design these works. Sculptor Simone Moschino then created these, primarily as a sculpture garden which were popular during the day. My purpose here is to showcase the talent and dedication of these two artists in a moody glimpse back in history with a sense of mystery. The sequence of images presented here are my allegorical depiction of Prince Orsini’s plunge into madness, pursued by the monsters of his mind.

Legend has it that the heart-broken Prince had lost his sanity soon after his wife’s death, and changed the park’s creation to reflect his state of mind at the time. This may have been his way of conveying his sense of anguish, or the confusion and dizziness of his depressed experience which left him facing his own monsters of his mind.

As the visitor passes through the gate and wanders through the park, one will see over-sized mythological figures, moss-covered historic characters, monstrous animals and monuments.

A Sphinx, the classical riddler of ancient times; an Etruscan Bench with the inscription above it which reads, “You who have traveled the world wishing to see great, stupendous marvels — come here, where there are horrendous faces, elephants, lions, bears, orcs and dragons.”

Also found are bears holding the Roman rose and the Orsini coat of arms; Proteus, protector of the seas, rivers and other bodies of water, with weapons of the Orsini family; Hercules, who has barehanded slaughtered Cacus, a fire-breathing giant and the son of Vulcan; a sleeping nymph, a turtle with a winged woman on its back; a whale; a fountain called Pegasus, the winged horse.

Jupiter, the god of thunder, lightning, and storms, and also called the god of light and sky; Venus on a dragon pedestal; the Leaning/tilting House to showcase his sense of vertigo; Proserpina, wife of Pluto; Echidna, a half-woman, half-snake creature, the “mother of all monsters”.

The fortified elephant of Hannibal carrying the unconscious body of a Roman legionnaire; Neptune, the god of water and the sea; a dragon attacked by lions; a dolphin.

However, the most famous statue in the park is the mouth of Orcus “The Hell Mouth”, god of the underworld, with the words “Ogni Pensiero Vola” (Every Thought Flies) written above it; Cerberus, the three headed dog, guardian of hell; and finally the Temple Of Eternity memorial to Orsini’s wife, Giulia Farnese.

*** Any image found in this series or on my website is available as a print purchase! Just email me at

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