Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua

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Ludovico III Gonzaga
Marquis of Mantua
Andrea Mantegna 057.jpg
The Court of Mantua, detail:
Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua
Spouse(s) Barbara of Brandenburg
Noble family House of Gonzaga
Father Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga
Mother Paola Malatesta
Born (1412-06-05)5 June 1412
Mantua
Died 12 June 1478(1478-06-12) (aged 66)
Goito

Ludovico III Gonzaga of Mantua, also spelled Lodovico (also Ludovico II; June 5, 1412 – June 12, 1478) was the ruler of the Italian city of Mantua from 1444 to his death in 1478.[1]

Biography[edit]

Ludovico was the son of Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga and Paola Malatesta.

Ludovico followed the path of his father, Gianfrancesco, fighting as a condottiero from as early as 1432, when Gianfrancesco was vice-commander of Francesco Bussone's army.[2] In 1433, he married Barbara of Brandenburg,[1] niece of emperor Sigismund.[2]

Starting from 1436 (perhaps without the approval of his father)[2] he entered the service the Visconti of the Duchy of Milan. The result was that Gianfrancesco exiled Ludovico from Mantua, together with his wife,[2] naming Carlo Gonzaga as heir. However, in 1438 Gianfrancesco himself was hired by the Visconti, and reconciled with Ludovico in 1441.[2] Ludovico succeeded to the marquisate of Mantua in 1444.,[3] although part of the family fiefs went to his brothers Carlo, Gianlucido and Alessandro.[2] At the time, the Mantuan state was reduced in size and in poor conditions after years of war and large expenses.[2]

In 1445-1450 Ludovico served as condottiero for Milan, Florence, Venice and Naples, switching his allegiance in order to grant the higher level of peace for his lands.[2] In 1448 he took part to the battle of Caravaggio, and was forced to flee. In 1449 he entered the service of Venice in the league formed with Florence against Milan. In 1450 he received permission to lead an army for King Alfonso of Naples in Lombardy, with the intent of gaining some possessions for himself. However, Francesco Sforza, the new duke of Milan, enticed him with the promise of Lonato, Peschiera and Asola, formerly Mantuan territories but then part of Venice. Venice responded by sacking Castiglione delle Stiviere (1452) and hiring Ludovico's brother, Carlo.[3]

On June 14, 1453, Ludovico routed the troops of Carlo at Goito, but Venetian troops under Niccolò Piccinino thwarted any attempt to regain Asola. The Peace of Lodi (1454) obliged Ludovico to give back all his conquests, and to renounce definitively his claim to the three cities.[3] However, he obtained his brother's land after Carlo's childless death in 1456.

The moment of highest prestige for Mantua was the Council held in the city from May 27, 1459 to January 19, 1460, summoned by Pope Pius II to launch a crusade against the Ottoman Turks, who had conquered Constantinople some years earlier. However, the pope was not satisfied with the host city, writing: "The place was marshy and unhealthy, and the heat burnt up everything; the wine was unpalatable and the food unpleasant." However, the council ended on a note of great personal prestige for Ludovico with the elevation of his son Francesco to the purple.[4]

From 1466 Ludovico was more or less constantly at the service of the Sforza of Milan. He died in Goito in 1478, during a plague. He was buried in Mantua cathedral.[3]

Coin of Ludovico III Gonzaga (1475).

Education and enculturation[edit]

On the orders of his father, Ludovico's education had been entrusted to the humanist Vittorino da Feltre. Vittorino undertook "the difficult enterprise in the interests of the commonwealth for... the education of a good prince would benefit the people he ruled." The teaching was markedly moral and religious and contained a "vein of laical asceticism almost." This, argues the arts scholar Franco Borsi, explains not only Ludovico's religious faith that led him to found churches and host Pius II's Council, but also his concern for a humanistic culture and the growth in public works throughout the city, from the paving of the streets and building of a clock tower to the reorganisation of the city centre.[4] Among the famous humanists invited to the city was the Florentine Leon Battista Alberti, who designed the San Sebastiano church and the San' Andrea church. Also, in 1460, Ludovico appointed Andrea Mantegna as court artist to the Gonzaga family.

Ludovico is featured in the Treatise on Architecture, from circa 1465, by the Florentine sculptor-architect Antonio di Pietro Averlino (c. 1400 – c. 1469), better known as Filarete.[5] The treatise takes the format of a Platonic dialogue, featuring an unnamed architect (evidently Filarete himself) who is building a new city for a princely patron (evidently Francesco Sforza of Milan). During the dialogue interspersing the treatise they are visited by another lord, in the figure of Ludovico: his role in the dialogue is to persuade Sforza that he has seen the error of his ways in showing favour in "modern architecture", by which is meant Gothic architecture, and, having seen the architecture of antiquity in Rome, now favours such architecture instead, which is also what Filarete is also trying to persuade his patron.

Children[edit]

Ludvico and Barbara had ten children:[1]

It was said that the daughters of Barbara and Ludovico III had hunched backs, that is why Susanna and Dorothea were spurned by Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Leonhard of Gorizia postponed his marriage to Paola due to this and when they eventually married they had one stillborn child as it is thought that this deformity in her made it harder to have children.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Coniglio,, Giuseppe (1967). I Gonzaga. Varese: Dall'Oglio. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Lazzarini, Isabella. "LUDOVICO III Gonzaga, marchese di Mantova". Istituto Enciclopedico Italiano. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Damiani, Roberto (January 17, 2011). "Note biografiche di Capitani di Guerra e di Condottieri di Ventura operanti in Italia nel 1330 - 1550" [Biographical Notes of the War Captains and Commanders of Ventura operating in Italy in 1330 - 1550]. Condottieri di ventura (in Italian). Retrieved January 31, 2011.  Translate this Italian web page to English
  4. ^ a b Borsi, Franco (1977). Leon Battista Alberti. New York: Harper & Row. 
  5. ^ Filarete's Treatise on Architecture; Being the Treatise by Antonio di Piero Averlino, Known as Filarete. Translated with an Introduction by John R. Spencer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965.
  6. ^ Marie Ferranti, The Princess of Mantua. Hesperus Press, 2005.

Sources[edit]

  • Murgia, Adelaide (1972). I Gonzaga. Milan: Mondadori. 


Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua
Born: 5 June 1412 Died: 12 June 1478
Preceded by
Gianfrancesco I
Marquis of Mantua
1444–1478
Succeeded by
Federico I