The group of sculptures seen here, mostly terracotta, can be traced back to Mantua during the Renaissance and to the major adornments for on the city's streets. The City Museum houses this exceptional collection, which is generally associated with the style of Mantegna, who not only would produce paintings in a statuesque style, but also produced his own models of statues, as can be seen from the bronze bust of him in his funeral chapel in the church of Sant'Andrea. A truly standout piece from this period is the beautiful Romanesque statue of Virgil, the true patron of the city of Mantua.
Even the Angel, astounded by the Annunciation, is restrained in his dynamism, which lends a magnificent and dramatic feel to his relationship with the Virgin. His great wings become a majestic adornment.
It is suggested that these first three statues have even greater links with Tuscany. Of course, any attempt at attribution is complicated by the fact that Donatello, the master Tuscan sculptor par excellence, moved to Padua and exerted an influence on artistic production in the Veneto region, culminating in Mantegna as one of its greatest exponents.
The statue of the Evangelist shown here has a coarser outline and appears quite tense, with the arms seeming almost to protect the body. One might therefore conclude that, together with the sculpture of St. Peter, this piece is the work of the pupils of the master who designed the entire collection and produced the first three sculptures himself.
Each of the five statues displays considerable intensity, which was undoubtedly supposed to serve as a warning to passersby. Moreover, details that might seem too accentuated to modern eyes were mitigated by the distance between the sculptures and the viewer.
Ideato e promosso da / Founded and Promoted by:
Mattia Palazzi (Sindaco del Comune di Mantova)
con Lorenza Baroncelli (Assessore alla rigenerazione urbana e del territorio, marketing urbano, progetti e relazioni internazionali del Comune di Mantova)
Coordinamento Scientifico / Scientific Coordinator:
Curatore testi e immagini / Superintendent texts and images:
In collaborazione con / In cooperation with:
Stefano Benetti (Palazzo Te e Musei Civici)
Foto di / Photo by:
Gian Maria Pontiroli
Redazione / Editors:
Un ringraziamento speciale a / A special thanks to:
Lo staff di Palazzo Te che ha fatto il turno dalle 19 all’1 del mattino per la gigapixel per tre giorni di fila