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The Courts of Northern Italy

The courts of Northern Italy©

Until 1870, Italy was divided into numerous independent territories. In the early 1500s, the northern Italian city-states of Ferrara, Bologna, Mantua and Parma shared close ties through marriage, military alliances and trade.

The ruling family of Ferrara, the Este, cultivated humanist learning and commissioned elaborate decorative schemes. The Bentivoglio family dominated political and artistic life in the city of Bologna. The Gonzaga of Mantua were prolific patrons and amassed one of the greatest art collections in Europe, later acquired by Charles I. Giulio Romano worked as an architect and designer for Federico Gonzaga (ruled 1519-40), most notably remodelling his pleasure palace, the Palazzo Tè, and creating a series of state apartments in the Palazzo Ducale.

In the early sixteenth century, Parma became part of the Papal States and experienced a cultural revival. Correggio spent most of his career in Parma and his style created a new dramatic and emotional intensity that foreshadowed the expressive achievements of Baroque art. Parmigianino refined Correggio's illusionistic effects and promoted an even more sophisticated and elegant style.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.