MANTEGNA, Andrea
(b. 1431, Isola di Carturo, d. 1506, Mantova)

The west wall: The Meeting

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

The paintings in the Camera degli Sposi are continuous on two of the four walls and over the vaulted ceiling. The picture shows the west wall on which the main scene is in the right section. It has not been identified with any known event and may be symbolic. At the left stands Ludovico Gonzaga, at the right his older son and successor, Federico, and in the centre his second son, Cardinal Francesco, who in 1472 was made titular head of the Church of Sant'Andrea in Mantua. The background, possibly meant to be a symbol of Rome, has Roman ruins and statues outside its wall and a castle above.

In spite of losses, the glowing colour is one of the chief delights of Mantegna's room. There is, however, a considerable difference in colour between the ceiling, painted in fresco, and the walls, which Mantegna carried out with a vehicle of walnut oil.