Giulio Romano: Art and Desire

Speakers: Dr Barbara Furlotti (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Gianni Fiore (Lissoni Associati, Milan) and Dr Guido Rebecchini (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

This event celebrates the opening at the Palazzo Te in Mantua of the exhibition Giulio Romano: Art and Desire, co-curated by Barbara Furlotti, Guido Rebecchini, and Linda Wolk-Simon, and the publication of its catalogue. The exhibition investigates the relationship between erotic images of the classical world and figurative inventions produced in the first half of the sixteenth century in Italy. Through a wide range of artworks representing sometimes mild, sometimes outrageous erotic scenes, the display focuses on an aspect of Renaissance culture that is often overshadowed by lofty political, moral and religious themes. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, cartoons, prints, ancient marble sculptures, statuettes in bronze, istoriato maiolica and a magnificent piece of tapestry lent by over twenty international institutions, and  provides a rich cross-section of a courtly visual culture which takes as its main subject the visual pleasure offered by the artwork themselves.

With eight essays spanning from topics such as punishment, comedy and eroticism in the Roman world to the triumph of the erotically charged language of Renaissance literary and artistic production, the catalogue highlights the provocative nature of Giulio Romano’s work and discusses how it influenced artists all over Europe. This event includes a presentation by Barbara Furlotti and Guido Rebecchini and the projection of images of the backstage of the exhibition, including its conception, installation and opening.

Barbara Furlottiat is associate lecturer at The Courtauld. Her research focuses on collecting practices, material culture, and antiquarianism, especially in Mantua and Rome during the early modern period. She is the author of Antiquities in Motion from Excavation Sites to Renaissance Collections (The Getty Publication, 2019).

Guido Rebecchini is a member of the faculty at the Courtauld. His interest in sixteenth century Italian art and culture has led him to study Mantua, Florence and Rome as experimental microcosms for the invention of specific artistic languages.

Gianni Fiore has worked with Lissoni Associati in Milan since 2006 (, engaged largely in exhibition design, including displays of works by Luini, Antonello da Messina, Giulio Romano, Titian, Gerhard Richter, Jacques Henri Lartigue and many other artists. Gianni Fiore will present a short film about the design and installation of the exhibition Giulio Romano: Art and Desire.

Organised by Dr Guido Rebecchini (The Courtauld) 

Giulio Romano: Art and Desire

9 Dec - 20 Mar 2023

9 Dec - 20 Mar 2023

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London