Federico Gonzaga (1500–1540)

Francesco Francia Italian

Not on view

The great Renaissance collector Isabella d’Este, marchioness of Mantua, commissioned this charming portrait of her son Federico Gonzaga to console her when he was taken to the papal court in Rome as hostage. It was painted by Francia as the young heir passed through Bologna, and was so admired that Isabella had to reclaim it from some papal courtiers. Federico’s black hat and gold-embroidered gown were much in vogue, and his gaze is exceptionally sweet for a fifteenth-century portrait. Soon after Isabella finally received the portrait she gave it away in response to an unexpected gift from a gentleman in Ferrara who had sent her a magnificent book of sonnets.

Federico Gonzaga (1500–1540), Francesco Francia (Italian, Bologna ca. 1447–1517 Bologna), Tempera on wood, transferred from wood to canvas and then again to wood

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