Three exhibitions in Mantua: we start from the iconographic heritage to investigate the origins of the myth and its creation
Where does the power of Venus come from? The project is developed in three exhibition moments, from a survey of the iconographic heritage of Palazzo Te in Mantua to a wide reflection on the current power of the myth of the goddess.
From 21 March, with the project Venere Divina. Armonia sulla terra (Harmony on Earth), three exhibitions and a programme of events attempt to find an answer, exploring the myth of Venus as a representation of the sense of rebirth from antiquity to modern times.
A rich programme that creates encounters with some of the great masterpieces of Western art from important European museums, from paintings by Cranach, Guido Reni, Tiziano and Dosso Dossi to sculptures, tapestries and books.
The first stage opens with Il mito di Venere a Palazzo (The Myth of Venus at Palazzo Te), which from 21 March to 12 December allows the public to discover the more than 25 representations of Venus, including stuccoes and frescoes, present in the Palazzo. A journey through ancient myths and fables, also collected in a printed and multimedia guide, which is enriched by the exhibition of the sculpture Venere velata from the collection of the Municipality of Mantua, which belonged to Giulio Romano and is preserved in the Galleria dei Mesi at Palazzo Ducale, and the tapestry Venus in the garden with putti, made by Flemish weavers from a design by Giulio Romano himself.
Second stage on 22 June with the exhibition Tiziano. Venere che benda Amore (Titian’s Venus Binding Love), an absolute masterpiece by Titian housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, will be on display until 5 September.
On the occasion of this exhibition, during the summer, the exedra of Palazzo Te will be redesigned to host performances and artistic events, part of the public program dedicated to the theme of the myth of Venus.
The last stage of the project will take place on 12 September with the exhibition Venere. Natura, ombra e bellezza (Venus. Nature, shadow and beauty), curated by Claudia Cieri Via, which until 12 December explores the origins of the myth and its creation, thanks to the recovery of sixteenth-century legends and ancient iconography.
The exhibition devotes part of its itinerary to the spread of myth in European courts, to the divinity’s link with the waters, gardens and parks, and with the beauty of the women of the time.
A section is also devoted to the “dangers” of Venus and the link between witches and wizards with the cult of the goddess.