By Martina Bollini

A new artistic lighting for Giulio Romano’s Pescherie (fish market) has launched the series of events to be held through the year in the city of Mantua, Italy’s 2016 Capital of Culture. Mantua, one of the most important centers of the Italian Renaissance, was ruled for four hundred years by the Gonzaga family. Prestigious artists like Pisanello, Leon Battista Alberti, Giulio Romano, and Correggio worked at their court.

Giulio Romano left Rome for Mantua in 1524. He dominated the artistic scene of the city until his death, in 1546. The most important of all his works is the Palazzo del Te, designed and frescoed between 1525 and 1535 as a suburban residence for Federico II Gonzaga

The Pescherie, a double ashlar-work portico, were built around 1536 over the Rio (a canal connecting two of the artificial lakes that surround the city). Originally intended as a fish market, the area was connected with the so-called Beccherie, a public slaughterhouse built in the same period on another project by Giulio Romano and demolished around the first half of the 19th century. After decades of abandonment, the recent intervention aims to restore an urban space through the medium of light. 

Further Reading: Manfredo Tafuri, Giulio Romano, Cambridge University Press, 1989; Barbara Furlotti and Guido Rebecchini,  The Art and Architecture of Mantua: Power and Patronage in the Renaissance, Thames & Hudson 2008.

The new artistic lighting of Giulio Romano’s Pescherie by light designer Giovanna Bellini. Photo by Gaia Cambiaggi.

Night View of Mantua.

Titian, Portrait of Giulio Romano, c. 1536, oil on canvas, Palazzo della Provincia, Mantua.

Palazzo del Te, aerial view.

Palazzo del Te, David’s Loggia

Palazzo del Te, Fall of the Giants.

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