The Italian Almanac

Calvary, by Mantegna

Italian Art - February 11

Mantua is paying tribute to Andrea Mantegna on the 500th anniversary of his death with a wide-ranging show charting his immense contribution to its cultural Renaissance in the 15th century.

Staged in the palazzo he built for himself during his 50 years (1460-1506) in the northern Italian city, the exhibition displays an array of manuscripts, letters and books showing how the great painter and sculptor was a linchpin in the movement that allowed the Gonzaga court to rival those of Florence and Milan.

The show features two famous bronzes that have come specially from abroad: Marsias Changed Into St Sebastian from a Liechenstein museum and a bust of Ludovico I Gonzaga from a French gallery. There is only one Mantegna painting, but it is a masterpiece, Christ the Redeemer, loaned by the northern Italian city of Coreggio.

Other masterworks could not make the journey but have been recreated virtually in a state-of-the-art computer gallery. One work will be visible in virtual and actual reality: the Painted Room (or Wedding Chamber) at a nearby Gonzaga fortress, the Castle of San Giorgio. A ticket to the show also covers admission to the castle.