My most illustrious, excellent, and pious mistress [domina]. As promised I send to Your Excellency a metal figure, by way of my butler Iacobo di Lecti. And if I have been tardy in sending it, you must blame myself and Antico. I believe I am sending a good thing, and I send it all the more willingly so that Your Excellency may know that I still have women around the house; deigning to accept it [the figure] with that good will with which I send it. Following your wish, I also send copies of two letters from Rome and Venice, more because of the order in place with the departure of the duke than for other reasons, and to receive some exchange from yourself, to whom I always commend myself. Gazzuolo, September 8, 1503
Of your most illustrious and excellent rule
Ludovico Gonzaga, Mantuan elect, Marchese etcetera
Authorization to reproduce number 37-2011.
Ludovico Gonzaga (1460–1511)
became Antico’s second patron after Ludovico’s brother Gianfrancesco died in 1496. Ludovico became bishop-elect of Mantua in 1484 but was never consecrated to that office. He lived instead in his territories outside Mantua, later moving to Antonia del Balzo’s castle at Gazzuolo. His correspondence provides much information on Antico’s work.
Letter of Ludovico Gonzaga (signature), 8 September 1503, Archivio di Stato, Mantua
Isabella d’Este (1474–1539)
became Antico’s principal patron after the death of her husband’s uncle, the bishop Ludovico Gonzaga, in 1511. The daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, Ercole d’Este, Isabella married the Marchese of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, in 1490. She became famous in her own time for her dynamic personality and cultural sophistication and was one of the few women to create a studiolo. Antico made bronzes that were preserved on cornices in her studiolo. After her husband’s death in 1519 Isabella became regent of Mantua for her son Federico Gonzaga.
Giancristoforo Romano, Isabella d’Este, after 1498, bronze, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection
model created and cast probably 1503
bronze with gilding and silvering
Robert H. and Clarice Smith