The thesis addresses the use of art in the pursuit of social and political ends by one of the oldest Roman noble families, the Colonna family. The object of analysis is the fresco by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari The Apotheosis of Marc Antonio II Colonna, in Palazzo Colonna, Rome dating from about the year 1700. The fresco depicts the family’s hero of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Marc Antonio II Colonna, as he ascends towards Immortality, which is portrayed seated on a throne in an almost divine light. The main question is to what extent it is possible to understand and interpret this fresco, with its symbols and scenes, as an expression of the social and political aspirations of the Colonna family at the turn of the 17th century. And how likely is it that the programme of the fresco was chosen for social and political purposes, i.e. as means to fulfil the goals and ambitions of the family. After examining the iconography, I discuss selected signs and symbols in relation to certain textual sources and dimensions of the contemporary social and political context. This includes the possible goals and aspirations of the House of Colonna as well as other, especially Roman, fresco cycles. The ordering of symbols and scenes is also discussed in the light of visual communication. In this highly competitive Roman society, with nobility aspiring for power and status, I assert that the iconography and composition of the fresco both reflects the society while at the same time becoming in a way evidence of it. Through the selection of symbols and scenes, the fresco produces its own context, and by making this rhetorical manoeuvre, chooses for the readers the relevant context to consider. My argument in the thesis is that the House if Colonna pursue their social and political ends and ambitions by strategically contextualizing the representation of the family hero and his achievements. Through their selection of symbols and scenes, the fresco represents the chosen reality the family believed would benefit it the most, given their situation and ambitions. In this way, it is asserted in the thesis that the rhetorical functions of this fresco constitute its symbolic form.