(b. ca. 1499, Roma, d. 1546, Mantova)
View of the Sala di Troia1536-40
Sala di Troia, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua
As work was coming to an end at the Palazzo del Tè, Giulio Romano increased the number of new projects in various places and varying degrees of importance. One of his most significant projects in this period, though, was the decoration of Federico Gonzaga's official apartment in the Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, later called the Appartamento di Troia (Troy Apartment) after its most important room, the Sala di Troia. It was begun in 1536 and completed around 1540.
The scenes painted on the ceiling and walls of the Sala di Troia narrate the Greek victory over the Trojans as it is recounted in The Iliad. The battle itself rages across the ceiling: desperate horses and warriors lie on their backs while victorious heroes stand over them. The scene is painted as a continuum interrupted only by trees painted to conceal the angular corners of the room. The paintings on the walls narrate individual stories from the war, and they are isolated in giant fictive frames. These scenes, painted by Giulio's students, include the construction of the Trojan Horse, Laocoön and His Sons Attacked by Serpents, Hecuba's Dream, and the Death of Ajax.
The room was originally decorated all the way down to the floor pavement with military trophies and faux marble, and as a whole it alludes to the military virtues of Federico Gonzaga.