Palazzo del Te

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Palazzo Te

The Palazzo del Te (also Palazzo Te ) is a pleasure palace in Mantua in Italy .

For an architecture layman traveling through the suburbs of Mantua, the Palazzo del Te , an isolated square building, is a simple and immediate impression of the fundamentals of Mannerism as a reaction to the architectural style of the High Renaissance . It breaks some of the rules of classical Renaissance architecture, but at the same time appears to conform to the basic rules laid down by Leon Battista Alberti's De Re Aedificatoria a century earlier.


Federico II Gonzaga , Margrave of Mantua, decided in 1524 to build a pleasure palace or Villa Suburbana . The intended location was by the count's stables on Isola del Teieto ('Te' for short), on the edge of the marshes outside the city walls of Mantua.

The architect commissioned with the construction was Giulio Romano , a student of Raphael , who built the shell, a rectangular house around a courtyard, within 18 months. The complex is completed by a garden, which is bordered by rows of columns in front of the outbuildings, which are closed off by a semicircle of columns, called esedra .


As with Villa Farnesina , the location outside the city allowed the mixture of palace and villa . The four outer facades have flat pillars in front of receding walls. The window work indicates that the piano nobile is on the ground floor, one floor above. The east facade differs from the other three in that it has Palladian motifs on its pillars and an open loggia in its center. The facades are not as symmetrical as they look, the distances between the columns are irregular. The center of the north and south façades is broken through by two-storey arches without a portico or gable triangle, and only a simple covered corridor leads into the inner courtyard.

The most famous fresco of Mannerism: Giulio Romano deception invents a dome and architecture solves the space in the case of the giants on

Few windows face this courtyard, the cortile ; the column walls are provided with deep niches and blind windows on all sides, and the surfaces in between are provided with Spezzato , which breathes life and depth into the surfaces.

After the shell was in place, the real work began: plasterers, carvers and fresco painters were employed for ten years until hardly a surface in the loggias and salons was undecorated. Since no artist from the recognized first row was employed, one can find frescoes by Benedetto Pagni von Brescia and Rinaldo Mantovano , actually "Scalzi", like the "Pasiphaë and the bull" on the east wall of the Camera di Psiche. These are among the most notable sights of the Palazzo. The topics range from an Olympic banquet in the Sala di Psiche to stylized horses in the Sala dei Cavalli to the Sala dei Giganti with its giants and grotesques that move exuberantly through the chaos on the walls. Gianfrancesco Penni was involved in decorating the ceiling panels .

These rooms saw many of the most eminent people of the time, including Emperor Charles V , who made his host Federico II Gonzaga duke on the occasion of his visit in 1530. Above all, Gonzaga was to be impressed by the building for political reasons and to illustrate his will to power.

One of the most charming parts of the palazzo's bygone eras is the Casino della Grotta , a small series of private rooms around a grotto and the logetta , a covered balcony on which the courtiers once bathed in a small cascade that ran over pebbles and shells, which were set into the walls and walls.

The fame of the Palazzo del Te only lasted a century. In 1630 Mantua and the palace were sacked during the Mantuan War of Succession and the conquest of the city by imperial troops. The remaining population fell victim to one of the worst plague epidemics in history. The palace, robbed from top to bottom, remained an empty shell with no inventory - according to this condition, the extensive and remarkable wall paintings, on which nymphs , gods, goddesses and giants populate the walls of the empty and echoing rooms , are all the more astonishing .

Parts of the palazzo now house the Museo Civico , which presents the following collections:


Belluzzi, Amedeo: Palazzo del Te a Mantova - The Palazzo Te in Mantua, 2 vols., Modena 1998.

Web links

Commons : Palazzo Te  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Egon Verheyen: The paintings in the Sala di Psiche of the Palazzo del Te . In: Yearbook of the Berlin museums . tape 14 . Berlin 1972, p. 43 .
  2. Christine Tauber: Style policy in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua . in: Political styles and the visibility of the political in the early modern period. Ed .: Dietrich Erben, Christine Tauber. Dietmar Klinger Verlag, Passau 2016, p. 93-127 .

Coordinates: 45 ° 8 '53 "  N , 10 ° 47' 10.9"  E