Following his successes in Padua and Verona, Mantegna was appointed court artist by Ludovico Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, a small independent state located in North Italy. Mantegna's position included the planning of festivals, the designing of costumes, and the preparation of models for temporary sculpture, but primarily he was occupied with painting. Mantegna's most successful enterprise in Mantua, where he maintained his residence for half a century, was the Camera degli Sposi (room of the bride and groom), otherwise known as the camera picta (the painted room) in the north tower of the Castel San Giorgio. The walls contain contemporary representations of the Gonzaga family. The room with a square plan (8,1 x 8,1 m) occupied the artist from 1465 until 1474, a long time for a fresco decoration. Work proceeded slowly because of known interruptions and the program's complexity, as well as the degree of detail required.
The overall design and various details of the ceiling permit an assessment of Mantegna's precocity in the creation of the room's decoration, which opened the way for the illusionistic painting of Pinturicchio, Raphael, Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling, and beyond to later sixteenth-century quadratura (perspective architectural wall and ceiling painting). Only two of the walls have figurative narrations: the north wall with a scene that is usually called the Court and the west wall, divided into three scenes, Servants with Horse and Dogs, the Inscription with Putti, and the Meeting. The remaining two walls are painted with imitation leather draperies that encroach upon the other sides as well to create the fiction that there were curtains before all four walls and on two sides they had been opened up to reveal the events depicted.
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