Camera Picta

Camera Picta

Artist Andrea Mantegna

Date 1465 – 74

Movement Italian Renaissance

Medium Fresco

Located at Ducal Palace, Mantua


This fresco program was commissioned by the Marquis of Mantua. Mantegna uses trompe-l’oeil painting to create a vast program of architectural devices, landscapes and sculpture that helps promote the Gonzaga family; a painting of curtains fluttering in the breeze, for example, gives way to the family enjoying the outdoors, while while Roman emperors peer down from the vaulted tondi above. Mantegna’s incorporation of the actual hardware of the room (the corbel vaultings and fireplace mantel) help make the painting seem all the more real.


The vaulted ceiling culminates in a trompe-l’oeil oculus. Putti (small boys) play about the balustrade, while women peer down from above. The painted moldings of the balustrade and vault ribs help to further enhance the illusion of the scene.