Frescoes in the Ducal Palace, Mantua (1471-74)
by Andrea MANTEGNA

Following his successes in Padua and Verona, Mantegna was appointed court artist by Ludovico Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, a small independent state located in North Italy. Mantegna's position included the planning of festivals, the designing of costumes, and the preparation of models for temporary sculpture, but primarily he was occupied with painting. Mantegna's most successful enterprise in Mantua, where he maintained his residence for half a century, was the Camera degli Sposi (room of the bride and groom), otherwise known as the camera picta (the painted room) in the north tower of the Castel San Giorgio. The walls contain contemporary representations of the Gonzaga family. The room with a square plan (8,1 x 8,1 m) occupied the artist from 1465 until 1474, a long time for a fresco decoration. Work proceeded slowly because of known interruptions and the program's complexity, as well as the degree of detail required.

The overall design and various details of the ceiling permit an assessment of Mantegna's precocity in the creation of the room's decoration, which opened the way for the illusionistic painting of Pinturicchio, Raphael, Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling, and beyond to later sixteenth-century quadratura (perspective architectural wall and ceiling painting). Only two of the walls have figurative narrations: the north wall with a scene that is usually called the Court and the west wall, divided into three scenes, Servants with Horse and Dogs, the Inscription with Putti, and the Meeting. The remaining two walls are painted with imitation leather draperies that encroach upon the other sides as well to create the fiction that there were curtains before all four walls and on two sides they had been opened up to reveal the events depicted.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Giuseppe Aldrovandini: Sonata in D Major for two trumpets, strings and basso continuo


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
View of the west and north walls
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1156*802
True Color
201 Kb



View of the west and north walls
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1356*900
True Color
235 Kb



View of the south and east walls
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1300*856
True Color
192 Kb



View of the west and north walls and the ceiling
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

924*1200
True Color
175 Kb



View of the north wall
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1169
True Color
184 Kb



View of the west wall
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1190
True Color
206 Kb



The north wall: The Court of Gonzaga
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1022*1200
True Color
226 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster, 805 x 807 cm
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1037*800
True Color
176 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1426*1000
True Color
279 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1197
True Color
222 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1176
True Color
209 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1187
True Color
194 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

807*1400
True Color
202 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

900*1085
True Color
173 Kb



The Court of Gonzaga (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1050*727
True Color
176 Kb



The west wall: The Meeting
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1271*900
True Color
185 Kb



The west wall: The Meeting
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1066*1200
True Color
236 Kb



The Meeting
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

750*1174
True Color
192 Kb



The Meeting
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

931*1200
True Color
199 Kb



The Meeting (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1221
True Color
200 Kb



The Meeting (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1140
True Color
201 Kb



The Meeting (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

940*1200
True Color
187 Kb



The Meeting (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

903*1200
True Color
201 Kb



Inscription with Putti
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

928*1200
True Color
184 Kb



Inscription with Putti
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1028*850
True Color
190 Kb



Grotesque Self-Portrait
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

761*1200
True Color
191 Kb



Suite of Cardinal Francesco
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

750*1400
True Color
174 Kb



Suite of Cardinal Francesco (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

900*1154
True Color
187 Kb



Ceiling decoration
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

917*1100
True Color
239 Kb



Ceiling Oculus
1465-74
Fresco, diameter: 270 cm
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1202
True Color
248 Kb



Ceiling Oculus
1465-74
Fresco, diameter: 270 cm
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

900*997
True Color
198 Kb



Ceiling Oculus
1465-74
Fresco, diameter: 270 cm
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1200*1024
True Color
214 Kb



Ceiling Oculus (detail)
1465-74
Fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1000*1168
True Color
177 Kb



Ceiling Oculus (detail)
1465-74
Fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

900*1043
True Color
159 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

700*989
True Color
121 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

791*1100
True Color
198 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1028*900
True Color
153 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1107*900
True Color
174 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1465-74
Walnut oil on plaster and fresco
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

1101*900
True Color
167 Kb




Paintings by Andrea Mantegna
until 1470 | from 1471
frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi