Portrait of Elizabeth Gonzaga Raphael Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The painting of Elizabeth Gonzaga is mostly known as the portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga. The famous portrait of Elisabetta is a painting credited to the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael.

It is a painting that has been dated from around 1504. The portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga is housed in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence. It is an oil on wood medium painting. So many sources speak of Raphael is the one who executed the painting of Elisabetta Gonzaga.

This painting was most probably among Ducal’s collection of Urbino. This collection was taken to Florence in 1635 as part of Vittoria Della Rovere's dowry. The painting was first mentioned with certainty in 1773. This was the period it was reassigned from Palazzo Pitti to the Ducal wardrobe of the Uffizi. The painting of Elisabetta Gonzaga was attributed to Giovanni Bellini's school in a 1784 inventory. In another inventory of 1825, the same painting was listed as by Andrea Mantegna. For the first time, this painting was attributed to Raphael in 1905. There are other artists that the painting has been attributed to such as Giovan F. Caroto, Albrecht Durer, Francesco Francia, and Francesco Bonsignori.

In this painting, a woman is depicted, and she is Elisabetta Gonzaga. Elisabetta was the wife of Guidobaldo I who was the Duke of Urbino. This painting is currently exhibited at the Uffizi next to the painting of Duke Guidabaldo I of Urbino. The painting shows a woman of literally and artistic interests. The main details of the painting include a woman in a black dress that has been trimmed in a patchwork pattern and a diadem that resembles a scorpion that is on the woman’s forehead. The woman’s hairdo includes a coazzone.

The painting of Elisabetta Gonzaga was created between 1504 and 1505, and the dimensions of the painting are 52.9 centimetres by 37.4 centimetres. Unlike many of the other female portraits such as “Madonnas,” Raphael knew the woman in this painting very well. The duke was set off to marry Elisabetta, but he got into an accident before the wedding. In spite of this bad omen, their wedding still took place, and so many people gathered for the wedding. In her family, Elisabetta was not the very beautiful one, and she was a little older than her suitor. Their family life of these two went all wrong from the beginning. They were not able to conceive an heir since Guidobaldo suffered from severe gout. The whole marriage remained childless, and it is the reason that Elisabetta tenderly took care of Raphael.

The portrait of the 33-year-old Dutchess commissioned to Raphael was meant to be sent as a gift to Isabella d’este. This beautiful painting of Elisabetta Gonzaga by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael can be found displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and amazingly, it is next to the portrait of her husband the Duke Guidobaldo I of Urbino.