Lavinia Fontana, daughter of the painter Prospero whose canvas with the “Burial of Christ” is visible on the right wall of this same hall, was highly regarded for her skills as a portrait artist.

In fact, in this painting, she proves her ability in expressing complex concepts through a careful description of the faces, clothing and jewellery.

The large family portrait, signed and dated 1584, is one of her most famous works, as the existence of various copies bears witness.

In the shadowy interior of aroma in the Gozzadini home, living and dead family members are gathered around a table in an unlikely conversation, members who can be recognized by the writing on the back of the canvas that bears the names, relationships and ages of those portrayed.

Ulisse Gozzadini, head of the family who had died some twenty years before the painting was made, is seated in the centre, dressed in his senatorial robe.

To his right is Laudomia, who commissioned the painting, and to the left is his daughter Ginevra, already dead at the time of the portrait. Ginevra touches her father with one hand, to allude to their common destiny and is portrayed dressed in white, contrasting with Laudomia who instead, is wearing a bright red dress.

Behind them the cousins and their respective husbands, Annibale, with a letter in his hand to indicate his literary interests or, more likely, his role in managing the patrimony of the two sisters and Camillo, with the sword and the cross of the Portuguese Order of Jesus Christ. The intent of the portrait is to enhance not only the Gozzadini dynasty and its social status, but also the moral values underpinning the household, based on the concept of fidelitas, symbolized by the little dog lying at the centre of the panel.

Thanks to this complex symbolic construction, Laudomia, natural daughter of Ulisse, is promoting herself as legitimate heiress to the family fortune.

The Feast of St. Gregory the Great, signed and dated 1540, together on the panel with Jesus in the House of Martha and Mary, placed in this same hall at the other end of the wall, plus a third lost painting, are all part of the vast project to decorate the refectory of the Olivetan monastery of San Michele in Bosco in Bologna, commissioned to Giorgio Vasari in 1539.

The artists of the Bologna school, who had long been involved in decorating the monastery, fearing the dangerous Tuscan competition, did not receive the young man from Arezzo in Bologna with enthusiasm. However, he did not stay in the city for long: the following year, to the great relief of everyone, Vasari went home.

In the crowded and multi-coloured Feast of St. Gregory the Great, the dignified setting in a monumental and solemn building provides the background for an impressive parade of portraits. The artist managed to pay tribute to the memory of two illustrious figures who had recently passed away: Pope Clement VII, who, in 1530, had crowned Charles V Emperor in the basilica of San Petronio, is portrayed in the guise of St. Gregory, while Duke Alessandro de’ Medici, a great patron of Vasari, is represented at his back leaning against the chair.

The scene alludes to an episode in the life of Pope Gregory the Great. Every day the pope personally served twelve poor people who had been invited to his table, in memory of the Last Supper; one day, a thirteenth guest miraculously joined the twelve guests, and revealed himself to be Jesus. In the painting of Jesus in the House of Martha and Mary, the story from the Gospels is depicted in the foreground, inside the vast setting of a noble palace, along whose walls a grand staircase runs. Looking down from this staircase are the many people involved in preparing the lunch.

Mary, the emblem of the contemplative life, is seated at Jesus's feet and listening to him talk, while Martha, symbol of an industrious life, is working at preparing lunch.

Vasari’s signature, visible on Christ’s chair, curiously, is in Greek letters: the idea was probably influenced by the scholar and the painter's personal friend, Andrea Alciati, at the time, a reader at the studio in Bologna.

In both panels, Vasari created a scenic and theatrical space, where influences from the school of Raphael, with whom he had became acquainted in Rome, and memories of Michelangelo, mingle together, like the robust anatomy of the diner who has his back to us in the foreground of the Feast of St. Gregory.

Parmigianino’s influence, in particular in the altarpiece with St. Margaret, which can be seen in room 18, is recognizable in the scene with Jesus in the house of Martha and Mary, both in the clothing and Mary’s elaborate hairstyle, as well as Christ's elegant pose in profile. In the context of the refectory of San Michele, the theme of hospitality, illustrated in the panels, was intended to celebrate brotherly love, a characteristic of the Olivetan Benedictine order, whose rule required that they received all guests as if they were the Christ himself.