The painting of the Camera degli Sposi in the ducal palace of Mantua is considered as the masterpiece of Mantegna. It was painted at the request of the Gonzagas for whom he worked from 1459 as a court painter. In this rectangular piece, Mantegna painted his own architectural reality in a complex composition of vaults, bases, pillars and heavy curtains with in the ceiling the famous ‘Oculus’, an opening overlooking the painted sky. The fresco is a huge and fascinating sham. The inscription “with putti” has been painted on one of the walls above the door. Spectators can see angels from above from below, which gives the impression of an extreme depth.
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) The painter Squarcione adopted the young Andrea when he was only 10 and educated him with methods coming from antiquity and highlighting precision. Although Mantegna emerged from the grip of his master quite soon, he kept being fond of the antiquity. He met in Padua the Tuscan Donatello and learnt a lot from the powerful “Renaissance style” of the old master.
However, he tried to have his own interpretation with precise lines, cool colours and impressive linear perspectives. Mantegna blossomed and became the most famous monumental painter of his generation. Raphael’s father even declared him the most talented painter.