Ceiling Oculus, Camera degli Sposi
Andrea Mantegna
Ceiling Oculus, Camera degli Sposi
Andrea Mantegna (Italian, EarlyItalian Renaissance, c. 1431-1506): Ceiling Oculus, Camera degli Sposi, 1471-74. Fresco. Ducal Palace, Mantua, Italy.



“... [Andrea Mantegna] one of the foremost north Italian painters of the 15th century. A master of perspective and foreshortening, he made important contributions to the compositional techniques of Renaissance painting ... He developed a passionate interest in classical antiquity ... His human forms were distinguished for their solidity, expressiveness, and anatomical correctness ... His masterpiece was a series of frescoes (1465-74) for the Camera degli Sposi (“bridal chamber") of the Palazzo Ducale. In these works, he carried the art of illusionistic perspective to new limits. His figures depicting the court were not simply applied to the wall like flat portraits but appeared to be taking part in realistic scenes, as if the walls had disappeared. The illusion is carried over onto the ceiling, which appears to be open to the sky, with servants, a peacock, and cherubs leaning over a railing. This was the prototype of illusionistic ceiling painting and was to become an important element of baroque and rococo art ... Mantegna was the dominant influence on north Italian painting for 50 years. It was also through him that German artists, notably Albrecht Dürer, were made aware of the artistic discoveries of the Italian Renaissance." (© Web Gallery of Art)