“The most beautiful chamber in the world”. These words were used by Zaccaria Saggi, a Renaissance courtier, to describe the chamber frescoed by Andrea Mantegna in the Mantua Castle, known today as “The Bridal Chamber”, or, in Italian, “Camera degli Sposi”.
The room is the most important not-to-be-missed masterpiece in Mantua: Andrea Mantegna worked here for nine years, from 1465 to 1474, painting 160 square meters of murals (i.e. 1700 square feet). To make a comparison, just consider that some decades later, Michelangelo spent less than half of the time, i.e. four years, between 1508-1512, to cover with frescoes the 520 square meters ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (i.e. 5600 square feet).
In the Bridal Chamber, the date of the conclusion of the works is to be found in the gilded plaque supported by putti with butterfly wings: here a Latin inscription says that “this refined work” was completed by Mantegna in ANNO MCCCCLXXIIII (the year 1474).
But another date is to be found in the decoration of the room: in the splayed jamb of one of the windows, decorated with fake marble inlays, a painted fake graffiti is to be found, reading the inscription “1465.d.16.Junii”, meaning “16th June 1465”. That’s the date in which Mantegna started working on the decoration of the room.
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