Art e Dossier

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Art History

Giulio Romano: biography

Giulio Pippi was most probably born in Rome, sometime during the last decade of the century (1492 according to Vasari and 1499 according to C. D’Arco). His training and early works were completed in the atelier of Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) with whom Giulio worked on some of the master’s most important projects starting from the Vatican rooms. There, after working on the room of the Incendio di Borgo, Romano had a fundamental part in the decoration of the Room of Constantine. He also worked on the Logge and the Loggetta Vaticane, the Villa Farnesina alla Lungara and Villa Madama where he painted grotesques. During his Roman period Giulio also did a series of paintings such as the Lapidation of St. Stephen (Genoa, Santo Stefano), the Madonna of the Cat (Naples, Capodimonte) and the Coronation of Monteluce, that he worked on with Gianfrancesco Penni. Giulio Romano’s hand can also be recognized in another series of paintings he is said to have done with Raphael such as The Holy Family, known as The Pearl (Madrid, Prado), the portrait of Juana of Aragon (Paris, Louvre), the Young Saint John (Florence, Uffizi) and the Holy Family [Under the Oak Tree] (Madrid, Prado). In 1524, through Baldassarre Castiglione, Giulio moved to the court of Federico II Gonzaga in Mantua, where he remained until his death. As the court artist he worked as architect, painter, set designer, prefect or master of construction, designer of tapestries, silver and ephemeral displays and decorators. As an architect he was engaged primarily in the reconstruction of the destroyed villa at Marmirolo and Palazzo Te that was begun in 1524 and completed in just ten years. The pleasure palace, for the prince, Giulio and his helpers decorated Palazzo Te with mythological scenes that allude to Federico Gonzaga’s love for Isabella Boschetti. In 1530 Charles V was a guest, and this episode led to the updating of the decorations in an imperial key and to the frescoes in the dazzling Room of the Giants. During the same period the artist also worked on the Appartamento di Troia [Room of Troy] in the ducal palace, which today is in very poor condition. Prior to 1541 he worked on his own residence and prepared the cartoons for the frescoes in the apse of the cathedral of Verona that were painted by Torbido and for the apse of the church of the Steccata in Parma.

The works