Artist Giulio Romano,
Commisioner Federico II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua
Location Mantua, Italy
Material cut stone
Context Few windows overlook the inner courtyard ("cortile"); the colonnaded walls are decorated on all sides by deep niches and blind windows, and the intervening surfaces are spattered by 'spezzato' (broken and blemished plaster) giving life and depth to the surfaces. Function pleasure palace, or Villa Suburbana
Description terms four exterior façades have flat pilasters against rusticated walls Intent pleasure palace, or Villa Suburbana
Palazzo del Te or Palazzo Te is a palace in the suburbs of Mantua, Italy. It is a fine example of the mannerist style of architecture, the acknowledged masterpiece of Giulio Romano. The official name, and by far the most common name in Italian, is Palazzo Te, but this may be a relatively recent usage; Vasari calls it the "Palazzo del T" (pronounced as "Te"), and English-speaking writers, especially art historians, continue to call it the Palazzo del Te. In Italian this now suggests use for tea-drinking, which may account for the divergence in usage.
Palazzo del Te is a square building, constructed 1524-1534 for Federico II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua. He decided in 1524 to build a pleasure palace, or Villa Suburbana. The site chosen was that of the family's stables at Isola del Te on the fringe of the marshes just outside Mantua's city walls.
The architect commissioned was Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael. The shell of the palazzo was erected within 18 months. It is basically a square house built around a cloistered courtyard. A formal garden complemented the house. This was enclosed by colonnaded outbuildings terminated by a semi-circular colonnade known as the 'Esedra'.
Like the Villa Farnesina in Rome, the suburban location allowed for a mixing of both Palace and Villa architecture. The four exterior...