When we think about Mantua in connection with Art, Mantegna is the name the comes to mind, and the masterpiece we all have in mind, is his Camera degli Sposi in the Palazzo Ducale. So to see the famous Wedding Chamber was our top priority. However, nature was not in compliance with our plans, and as of 2012, the Camera degli Sposi was closed, and just reopened last month, a few days after we parted. We did get to see most of Palazzo Ducale, which is both huge and quite beautiful.
Therefore I can only tell you from hearsay about the Camera degli Sposi, and the two pictures provided here were not taken directly in situ by myself. For better or for worse, all pictures in this blog have been taken directly by me, or by my wife, or in rare occasions, by some kind passerby who takes a picture using my tablet or my Camera.
The Oculus Three Dimensional Ceiling Fresco,
Camera degli Sposi, Andrea Mantegna
This picture was not taken directly by the author of the blog.
The first fresco, the ceiling fresco, of the Camera degli Sposi, caused an enormous impact halfway through the quattrocento in the world of art. I can only imagine that it was intended to be seen by the Duke from his bed, and that the painting give the Duke and his wife a feeling of freedom, of openness, of being able to have a skylight or an open oculus in the middle of their bedroom ceiling, and that all types of fantastic figures and beautiful birds and celestial angels would pry on their privacy from above. It is a masterpiece in perspective, making us believe that the ceiling is a dome when it is in fact flat.
Frescoed Portrait of the Gonzaga family,
Camera degli Sposi, Andrea Mantegna,
This picture was also not taken directly by the author of the blog.
This wall fresco that we see above in the Camera degli Sposi is somewhat of a family portrait. Without a single word being spoken we find out a great deal about the Duke of Mantua, Gonzaga, authorative gentleman with a sword on the left, his son, the Cardinal, in the center, the children and grandchildren, Segismondo being the fairest and the youngest, and the submissive mother. Mantegna is in the background, off to the left, facing left. Mantegna is a wonderful storyteller, even without saying anything. In the background, Sant Andrea is being built, funded by the Gonzagas, and under the surveillance of the Cardinal.
The menacing façade of the Palazzo Ducale
The Palazzo Ducale overlooking the surrounding lake
Long narrow arched hallway.
View of a Painting in the Hall of the Labyrinth.
Another View of a Painting in the Hall of the Labyrinth
Bedroom with Celestial Map on Ceiling
Another view of Celestial Map on Ceiling