Italian family, rulers of Mantua from 1328 to 1707, who at several different periods attracted to their court some of the greatest Italian and other European artists. Under Ludovico (1412–78; reigned from 1444) Mantegna became court painter and Alberti began the church of S. Andrea. The presence of Isabella d' Este, who married FrancescoII in 1490, helped to make Mantua a leading centre of art collecting and patronage. Under FedericoII (1500–40; reigned from 1519) Giulio Romano built and decorated the Gonzaga pleasure house, the Palazzo del Tè, and turned Mantua into a powerhouse of Mannerist art. VincenzoI (1562–1612; reigned from 1587) was one of the greatest collectors of his day and Rubens's chief patron during his years in Italy. Ferdinando (1587–1626; reigned from 1612) employed van Dyck, Domenico Feti, Francesco Albani, and other artists. In 1627 most of the family collections were sold by VincenzoII (1594–1627; reigned from 1626), principally to Charles I of England (see Royal Collection), and important Gonzaga patronage came to an end after Mantua was sacked by Austrian troops in 1630. The city came under Habsburg rule in 1707.
Subjects: History by Period.