Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino

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Eleonor Gonzaga painted by Titian. Uffizi Gallery, Italy.

Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino (31 December 1493 – 13 February 1570) was the eldest of the seven children of Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, and Isabella d'Este. Her father was a notorious libertine, her mother a famous patroness of the arts. On 25 September 1509 she married Francesco Maria I della Rovere, duke of Urbino, son of Giovanni della Rovere, duca di Sora e Senegaglia, and Giovanna da Montefeltro, and nephew of Pope Julius II. Their two sons and three daughters would all have progeny.

Eleonora, who was largely responsible for the internal government of Urbino during her husband's exile, was an important patron of the arts in her own right. A princess of the highest culture, she was the friend of Pietro Bembo, Sadolet and Baldassarre Castiglione, as well as Torquato Tasso. Titian painted her once formally, in 1537, a companion to his portrait of her husband Francesco from the same year, but her face appears to be recognisable in three other Titian paintings of about that time: La Bella, Girl in the Fur Cloak and possibly the Venus of Urbino commissioned by her son Guidobaldo.

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  1. ^ Later legitimised and named Marchese di San Lorenzo. Ippolito's daughter Lucrezia married Marcantonio Lante and their son assumed the new extended surname as Ippolito Lante Montefeltro della Rovere