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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Gonzaga, Ludovico II

2nd Marchese of Mantua

(b Mantua, 5 June 1412; reg 1444–78; d Goito, 12 June 1478).

Son of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga. He was educated at the school run by Vittorino da Feltre at the Casa Giocosa, Mantua. Da Feltre esteemed his intellectual and political abilities highly, an opinion later shared by Bartolomeo Sacchi (il Platina) who tutored Ludovico’s children and afterwards became the overseer of the Vatican Library. Ludovico was certainly one of the most intellectually gifted of the Gonzaga rulers; he associated with scholars, employed scribes and illuminators—for example Andrea da Lodi (fl 1458–64), who illuminated Boccaccio’s Filocolo for Ludovico (Alexander)—and purchased items for the Gonzaga library. In 1433 he married Barbara of Hohenzollern (1422–81), niece of Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg, with whom he had five sons and five daughters. From 1445 until the Peace of Lodi (1454), Ludovico, an accomplished soldier, was involved in the power struggle between Milan, Venice and Florence.

Rodolfo Signorini