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

Ceiling Oculus

Fresco, diameter: 270 cm
Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

One the most remarkable portions of the decoration of the Camera degli Sposi is the fictive oculus, or opening to the sky, located on the room's low ceiling. Created with sharp foreshortenings, the oculus is ringed with figures looking down on the room below; a potted plant is precariously perched on its wooden support, seemingly ready to fall at any moment. It is a brilliant tour de force that invariably engages the spectator, who must join in the game by standing directly beneath the circular trellis.

The magnificent details of the ceiling and some of the busts and scenes stand among the most convincing trompe l'oeil passages of the entire Italian Renaissance.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.