Renaissance Dissident
Art History from a Different Perspective

Honour and Eternity

The Courtly Art of La Manta

The stunning frescoes in the audience chamber of the Castle of La Manta, Piedmont.

Art History Tour
Honour and Eternity
The Courtly Art of La Manta

Subject: the elegant frescoes in the audience chamber of La Manta Castle and their links to French and Flemish culture.
Locations: La Manta Castle and the Casa Cavassa, Saluzzo.
Duration: around 7 hours, including travel and lunch break.

Price: To be announced for 2024.

Inside the audience chamber of the Castle of La Manta are the finest frecoes in all of Piedmont: the cycle of The Nine Heroes and the Nine Heroines, commissioned by the Lord of Saluzzo and Regent, Valerano del Vasto, and painted in 1416-17. They are good enough to rival anything you will find in Florence, but are very different in character, being painted in the International Gothic style. They are by the hand of an anonymous Master, almost certainly from France or Flanders. Also in the chamber, and facing the first cycle, is the story of The Search for the Fountain of Youth, also by an anonymous artist, but this time very much in the local style. These two cycles are not by the same hand, but nevertheless they form one single narrative, featuring characters found in the romance Le Chevalier Errant (The Errant Knight) written by Tommaso III del Vasto, Marchese of Saluzzo, and father of Valerano and the future Marchese, Ludovico I. Deeper symbolism within the frescoes refers to the defence of the Marquisate of Saluzzo by the del Vasto family, against the growing threat of the powerful House of Savoy.

We round off our trip to La Manta with a visit to the church of Santa Maria al Castello, to see the Gothic frescoes of The Passion of Christ. We then travel to the beautiful historic town of Saluzzo for lunch.

After lunch, we see the truly Renaissance art of another foreign artist active in Piedmont: the Flemish artist Hans Clemer. In the Casa Cavassa in Saluzzo is his Altarpiece of Our Lady of Mercy, an exquisite panel painting of c.1499-1500.

Group Size: maximum 10 people.
Itinerary: we travel in private chauffeured transport from Fossano to the Castle of La Manta, where we enjoy a guided tour, and then look in detail at the frescoes in the audience chamber. The visit ends with a visit to the Castle Church to see the frescoes of The Passion of Christ. We then travel to Saluzzo, where we have a break for lunch of about 1 hour (price not included), and then visit the Casa Cavassa to see The Altarpiece of Our Lady of Mercy by Hans Clemer. If there is time, we may visit the Duomo, the cathedral of Maria Vergine Assunta. We then return to Fossano.
Meeting Point: Bar Castello, Via Cavour, 31 (on the corner of Piazza Castello), Fossano (unless otherwise arranged).
Departure Time: around 9.30AM (unless otherwise arranged). Return time around 4.30-5.00PM
When is this tour available? This tour is available most weeks, from Wednesday to Sunday.
Tour price includes: private chauffeured transport, all entry tickets, guided tour at La Manta and photo permit for La Manta. Please note that lunch at Saluzzo is not included.

For more information or to make your booking, please get in touch via the Contact page.

The figure of Hector, one of the Nine Worthies in the frecoes in the audience chamber of La Manta Castle. This is also a portrait of Valerano del Vasto.
The figure of Sinope, one of the Nine Heroines in the frecoes in the audience chamber of La Manta Castle.
Fresco of the crucifixion (detail) in the Church of Santa Maria al Castello, La Manta.
Photo above: the audience chamber of the Castle of La Manta. Photos from left to right/top to bottom: The Figure of Hector (one of The Nine Worthies), also a portrait of Valerano del Vasto; The Figure of Sinope (one of The Nine Heroines), also a portrait of Alasia del Monferrato; A mounted warrior from the fresco of The Crucifixion, part of The Passion of Christ in the Church of Santa Maria al Castello.
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