Gonzaga Collection, Palazzo Te

The Gonzaga Collection is divided into two sections comprising coins and weights and measures used in Mantua and its surrounding area at the time of the Gonzaga.

The coin section is made up of 250 pieces issued by the Mantuan mint. These date from the 13th to the 18th centuries and are ordered chronologically; there are also 60 coins struck by minor mints (16th-17th centuries).

Of particularly high quality are the pieces made by some of the most famous medallists that worked at the court, such as Pisanello, Bartolomeo Melioli, Gian Cristoforo Romano and Sperandio Savelli.

Also on display are dies, punches and seals that illustrate how coins and medals were minted in Mantua.

One section is entirely devoted to the measuring systems (lengths and capacity) used in the historic State of Mantua.

It includes a sample unit for roof tiles, one for bricks, six amphora-shaped sample units, six measures of capacity for dry goods (cereals), units for liquids and 2 measures for lengths.

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The objects, cast using the lost wax bronze process and finely decorated on the outside, were made in 1554 by Francesco Galvagni Massaro.Next to these is an even older bronze bushel, dated 1416.

The Gonzaga section of the Civic Museum of Palazzo Te was not created around one donation but by bringing together various items from different sources. It is composed of an important collection of coins and of an even more significant collection of medals, some of the finest examples dating to Italian Renaissance. Finally, also on display are weights and measures from the Gonzaga period. One medal in particular stands out because of its author: it is the medal of Gianfrancesco (1394-1444), first Marquis of Mantua, of which we can admire the front. The work is by Antonio Pisanno, known as Pisanello, a genius of the International Gothic, also author of the largest existing chivalrous fresco, discovered in Palazzo Ducale by the superintendent Paccagnini in the seventies of the twentieth century.

Medal of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga
Pisanello, also a well known medal-maker, spent a considerable period of time working for the Marquis Gianfrancesco. On the front of this medal the name and title of the Marquis are visible, while on the back the artists signed his name, next to the image of the Marquis riding a horse; another rider also visible on the back presents traits that are similar to some details of the frescoes in Palazzo Ducale. The paintings tell the deeds of the knights of the Round Table and depict the tournament they took part in.

Bucket-shaped container
Under the lower side of this bucket-shaped container is this sentence: “Olearum Solei Sex Dec Exemplum Partis 1554”. It mentions the year it was made and explains that the measure contained it’s the sexteenth part of Mantua’s solio.
The artifact is enriched by a vegetal decoration and by four coat of arms: those of Hercules, Gonzaga, the city of Mantua, Margherita Paleologo. The fourth emblem is the composite coat of arms of Paleogo and Gonzaga.

Palazzo Te
The Palazzo Te is a historic and monumental building in Mantua. a fine example of the mannerist style of architecture, Built between 1524 and 1534 on commission by Federico II Gonzaga, it is the most famous work of the Italian architect Giulio Romano. The complex is now home to the civic museum and, since 1990, the International Center for Art and Culture of Palazzo Te which organizes exhibitions of ancient and modern art and architecture.