The selection of around fifty works from the Louvre’s rich collection of drawings by Giulio Romano provides an overview of the artist’s career and gives us a sense of his qualities as an extraordinary draftsman.
A student of Raphael, Giulio Romano, whose original name was Giulio Pippi (Rome, 1492 or 1499 – Mantua, 1546), painter, architect and daring draftsman, surprises by the vigor of his inventions. According to Giorgio Vasari (1568), drawing was truly where his ideas reached absolute perfection.
Some of the drawings on display are from his Roman period at Raphael’s workshop (from 1516), while others are from the projects that the master had left unfinished upon his death in 1520 and that Giulio Romano then completed with Gianfrancesco Penni until 1524. That is when he yielded to the pleadings and promises of Count Baldassarre Castiglione, delegated by Marquis Federico II Gonzaga in Rome, and accepted his invitation to work for the Court of Mantua. There, far from Rome, in an environment that fueled his passion for the ancient style, his creativity knew no bounds. This is shown in the many drawings of the exhibition meant for the decors of the sumptuous residences of the Gonzaga family, particularly the Palazzo Te, the pleasure palace of Federico II, which Giulio Romano bestowed with all the splendor of a suburban villa in Rome.
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