Vincenzo I. Gonzaga

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Vincenzo I. Gonzaga by by Peter Paul Rubens
Vincenzo I. Gonzaga, hertog von Mantua by Frans Pourbus the Younger (1600–1601) Private collection in Rome .
Wife Eleonora de 'Medici

Vincenzo I. Gonzaga (born September 22, 1562 in Mantua ; † February 18, 1612 ibid) was the son of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga and ruled as his successor from August 14, 1587 to February 9, 1612 as Duke of Mantua and Montferrat .

He married Margherita Farnese in 1581 (* November 7, 1567, † April 13, 1643), daughter of the Duke Alessandro Farnese of Parma . The marriage ended in divorce the following year and remained childless.

In his second marriage, he married on April 29, 1584 Eleonora de 'Medici (* March 1, 1566, † September 9, 1611), daughter of the Grand Duke Francesco I of Tuscany . Vincenzo Gonzaga had six children with her:

In addition, Vincenzo had several illegitimate children in several countries.


Duke Vincenzo was the most important representative of his family. He was one of the great Renaissance princes. During his reign, Mantua became a center of art in Italy. He freed the poet Tasso from captivity and brought the young Claudio Monteverdi to his court. Although Vincenzo's financial support was very limited, Monteverdi developed into the greatest composer of his time at the Duke's court. Monteverdi lived at the court in Mantua for 25 years until the Duke's death. In addition to madrigals and motets from the Italian Renaissance, it was here that his first opera L'Orfeo was written . His second opera L'Arianna with the famous Lamento, which also premiered here, has been lost. It was received by contemporaries with an overwhelming storm of enthusiasm. For his representative performances, the duke built a theater building for over 1000 spectators. The building was destroyed in the War of the Mantuan Succession (Sacco di Mantova). Vincenzo discovered the young Peter Paul Rubens during a trip to Flanders and brought him to Mantua. Here Rubens received his first major painting commissions and carried out his first diplomatic mission to the Spanish court. Vincenzo had, due to his maternal descent from the Habsburgs, ambitions for the imperial crown, but these were completely unrealistic. For this aim and his claim to representation he owed his small country to ruin.


predecessor Office successor
Guglielmo Duke of Mantua
Francesco IV.