Where does the force of Venus come from? Where do his powers come from, capable, thanks to Love and Beauty, of conditioning the desires and actions of men, of protecting or tormenting human and divine lovers?
From 21 March to 12 December 2021, with the VENUS DIVINA project. Harmony on earth - produced and organized by the Palazzo Te Foundation and the Palazzo Te Civic Museum, and promoted by the Municipality of Mantua with the patronage of the MiC and with the contribution of the Banca Agricola Mantovana Foundation - three exhibitions and a program of events they try to find an answer, exploring the myth of Venus as a representation of the sense of rebirth from antiquity to modern times.
VENUS DIVINE. Armonia sulla terra represents the completion of a reflection on women started in 2018 with the exhibition Tiziano / Gerhard Richter. Heaven on Earth continued in 2019 with Giulio Romano: Arte e Desiderio. The project is developed in three exhibition moments, from a survey of the iconographic heritage of Palazzo Te to a broad reflection on the current power of the myth of the goddess.
The first phase, which began on 21 March and entitled The Myth of Venus at Palazzo Te, sees as protagonists the more than 25 representations of Venus present in the Palace, including stuccos and frescoes, collected in a paper and multimedia guide. A path between myths and ancient fables, which is enriched with the exhibition of the Veiled Venus sculpture from the collection of the Municipality of Mantua, which belonged to Giulio Romano and kept at the Galleria dei Mesi in Palazzo Ducale, and the Venus tapestry in the garden with cherubs , made by Flemish weavers to a design by Giulio Romano himself, who recently returned to Mantua.
The myth of Venus at Palazzo Te was also an opportunity to organize an international conference on the theme of Venus on April 16, the contents of which are available “in a nutshell” on the Palazzo Te Foundation website.
Second stage on 22 June with the Tiziano exhibition. Venus blindfolding Love, which brings to the halls of the Mantuan palace the painting Venus blindfolding Love, an absolute masterpiece by Titian preserved in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The canvas, one of the most important representations of the goddess in the sixteenth century, will remain in Palazzo Te until 5 September, establishing a dialogue with the other representations of Venus already at the center of the first phase of the program.
The summer season becomes the time to also animate the external environments of Palazzo Te, which will host a series of performative and artistic events involving the whole area of Mantua and its province.
Finally, the third and final part of the project kicks off on 12 September, with the Venus exhibition. Nature, shadow and beauty curated by Claudia Cieri Via, who until 12 December 2021 aims to investigate the origins of the myth of the goddess and her creation, thanks to the sixteenth-century recovery of legends and ancient iconography. The exhibition dedicates part of the itinerary to the spread of the myth in European courts, to the bond of divinity with the waters, gardens and parks, and with the beauty of the women of the time. A section is also dedicated to the “dangers” of Venus and to the bond of witches and witches with the cult of the goddess.