Jacopo Ligozzi was the painter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I de’ Medici. In a letter to Duchess Eleonora, dated 23 February 1593, one of the Duke’s secretaries recorded the departure of the painter to Ferrara, to be of service to Duchess Margherita Gonzaga, wife of the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este ‘for as long as she so desires’. In October of that year, the painter was already back in Florence, where he was appointed consul of the Accademia del Disegno. The portrait of Margherita Gonzaga was therefore carried out between spring and summer of 1593, with the Duchess of Ferrara being identifiable by her physical appearance and some of the impressively lavish jewellery that she is showing off in the painting. The portrait is a typical official image, characterised by the rigid pose and meticulous treatment of the dress and adornments. The painter attempts to alleviate the excessive formalism of the image by placing a small glass jar of flowers on the table, in the Flemish style. The painting belonged to the collection of Carlos IV of Spain and was passed on to his granddaughter, Carlota Joaquina de Bourbon, Queen of Portugal from her marriage to King João VI.


  • Title: Portrait of Margherita Gonzaga
  • Creator: Jacopo Ligozzi
  • Date Created: 16th century
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 138 cm x 105 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: MNAA Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, inv. 453 Pint
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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