Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga

Unknown artist, 17th century

Mantova Museo Urbano Diffuso

Mantova Museo Urbano Diffuso

This beautiful portrait of Vincenzo I, Duke of Mantua, can easily be ascribed to the circle of Frans Pourbus the Younger. The artist, son of Frans the Elder, was appreciated throughout Europe for his ability to paint lifelike faces of the greats of the time. He moved to Mantua after 1599, just following the Duke, whom he had met in Brussels. In the ten years he spent at the Gonzaga court he was active alongside Rubens, although the two careers did not influence each other. The rather wooden ways of the painting presented here, however, prevent it from being directly attributed to the master. Vincenzo still looks realatively young while he is wearing the emblem of the Golden Fleece, the highest imperial honor, a legacy of Burgundian descent, granted only to a few illustrious men of the time. As is known, this privilege had no perpetual value, nor could it be handed down, but had to be returned after the death of the beneficiary to the only legitimate owner, or the Emperor. As for Vincent, the golden fleece was granted to him in 1589.


  • Title: Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga
  • Creator: Unknown artist, 17th century

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