(b. 1431, Isola di Carturo, d. 1506, Mantova)

Portrait of Francesco Gonzaga

c. 1461
Tempera on wood, 25 x 18 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

The Gonzaga family turned continuously to Mantegna to paint their portraits, to make pictures that were given as diplomatic gifts, and to decorate the most important areas of their residences. A young member of the family - probably Francesco, the first Gonzaga cardinal - is represented at an age between childhood and adolescence in this small portrait.

During the Quattrocento the standard portrait format was the bust in profile, adopted from classical medallions.