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

Chest of Paola Gonzaga

before 1478
Carinthian State Museum, Klagenfurt

Two magnificent marriage chests - cassoni - were produced in Mantegna's workshop for Paola Gonzaga (1463-1497), daughter of Ludovico Gonzaga. Paola took with her the chests as part of her dowry when she married Count Leonhard of Gorizia in 1477. The brightly painted bas-relief scenes, made after drawings by Mantegna, represent episodes illustrating the legendary fairness of the Roman emperor Trajan. They are set in a triumphal procession including a great crowd of antique figures; in the background is an imaginary city that looks more like contemporary Florence than ancient Rome.