Palazzo Te – Mantua

viale Te, 13, Mantova
Lombardia, Italy
Email: biglietteria.te@comune.mantova.gov.it
Phone: +39 (0)376 323266
Website: http://www.palazzote.it
closed on: Monday mornings, and 25 December
Museum Type: Cultural centers

Palazzo Te is a museum and a cultural center in Mantua, northern Italy, as well as a masterpiece of Italian High Renaissance art and architecture designed and decorated by Giulio Romano in the early 16th century.

History, architecture, and fresco paintings by Giulio Romano
One of the most fascinating examples of monumental architecture in Italy, the Palazzo Te building was conceived by Giulio Romano between 1524 and 1530 as a pleasure palace for Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.
The name Palazzo Te doesn’t mean, as many believe, “Tea palace”. The building rather takes its name from that of the site on which it is located on the outskirts of Mantua, once called “Tejeto” (linden grove) or simply “Te”.

“(Giulio Romano and the Marquis Federico II Gonzaga*) went to a plot of land, a crossbow shot beyond the S. Bassano gate, where His Excellency owned a place with some stables called T(e). There, the Marquis said that he would like to have a small building where to stay sometimes for lunch or dinner, as a recreation.” Giorgio Vasari, 1568

* Federico II was Marquis of Mantua at the time, he was elevated to the rank of a duke in 1530

Giulio Romano, who had previously been a pupil of Raphael in Rome, incorporated the existing stables into a sumptuous residence, whose architecture was somewhat inspired by ancient Roman villas.
The complex is composed of a large square palace built around a central courtyard. The east side of the palace is marked by a portico opening on an Italian-style garden flanked by two wings – one of which once accommodated an orangery – to which it is connected by a pedestrian bridge; a semicircular colonnade borders the garden on the side opposite the main building. The complex also includes a small building with an inner garden, known as Appartamento del Giardino Segreto (House of the Secret Garden), which the Marquis used as a private retreat.

Along with an extraordinary architectural work, Palazzo Te is also well-known for the Mannerist-style fresco paintings which decorate its rooms. The paintings were made by Giulio Romano together with a team of pupils and collaborators, which included Raffaellino del Colle, and Rinaldo Mantovano, among others.

The frescoes adorn several spaces, both of the main residence and the Appartamento, including the renowned Chamber of Ovid or Metamorphosis, Chamber of the Giants, Chamber of Cupid and Psyche, and the Hall of the Horses.

Museum and exhibitions
Besides being an exhibition of art and architecture in itself, Palazzo Te is today also a publicly-owned museum and a cultural center which regularly hosts exhibitions and special events.
The museum features four small collections of art and archaeology; the Egyptian Collection comprises some 500 artifacts from Ancient Egypt; the Mesopotamic Collection includes cuneiform inscriptions, amulets, and votive statues from the ancient Near East; the Gonzaga Collection features coins, medals, weights and measures dating from the 13th century to 18th century; the Mondadori Collection presents late-19th century works by Italian painters Federico Zandomeneghi, and Armando Spadini.

The spaces of the former orangery now accommodate temporary exhibitions of art and architecture, conferences, and special events.
Palazzo Te also organizes guided tours for groups and schools and special visits for visually impaired persons.

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 01

Palazzo Te in Mantua, aerial view; photo © Franco Cosimo Panini Editore

Palazzo Te Mantova plan

Palazzo Te, general plan drawing by Antonio Maria Campi, ca. 1780

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano aerial

Aerial view of the palace looking east; photo courtesy of Palazzo Te

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano aerial 2

Aerial view of the palace looking west; photo courtesy of Palazzo Te

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 03

View of the east facade; the large triangular pediment was added in the 18th century; photo: Olga e Zanni

Palazzo Te Mantova elevation drawing 3

Giulio Romano, drawing of the east facade of Palazzo Te; Dusseldorf, Kunstmuseum

Palazzo-Te-Mantova-Giulio-Romano-13

View from the east gate looking west; photo: Andrea Lodi

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 04

East facade on courtyard; photo: Renzo Borgatti

Palazzo Te Mantova elevation drawing 2

Giulio Romano, drawing of the east facade on courtyard; Dusseldorf, Kunstmuseum

Palazzo-Te-Mantova-Giulio-Romano-16

View of the garden looking east with the semi-circular portico in the background and the pedestrian bridge over the “Pescherie” pool on the right; photo: Andrea Lodi

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 12

Appartamento del Giardino Segreto; view of the north facade on the inner courtyard; photo: dvdbramhall

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 18

Hall of the Horses; photo © Candida Höfer

Palazzo-Te-Mantova-Giulio-Romano-07

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 11

Hall of the Horses, details of the fresco paintings; photos: Jacqueline Poggi, and Alessandro Bonvini

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 08

View of the “Banquet of Amor and Psyche” painting

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 19

Chamber of the Giant, general view; photo © Candida Höfer, courtesy of Palazzo Te

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 09

Chamber of the Giant, detail; photo courtesy of Palazzo Te

Cover image: Palazzo Te, east facade; photo: Jim Forest 

Palazzo Te Mantova Giulio Romano 02

How our readers rate this museum (you can vote)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)
Loading...


sponsored links


More in Mantua and Cremona

Mantua and Cremona

Mantua and Cremona


copyright Inexhibit 2019 - ISSN: 2283-5474