The Gonzaga were the ruling family of Mantua from 1328. They acquired the titles of marquis in 1433 and of duke in 1530, and were notable patrons of art in the15th and 16th centuries.
Both Pisanello and Mantegna painted important fresco cycles for them. Mantegna was court artist of the Gonzaga from 1460 until his death in 1506; he was followed by Lorenzo Costa, and then Giulio Romano, a painter and architect.
Many other artists were patronised by them. Correggio painted several pairs of mythological subjects for Federico II; of which the National Gallery owns the 'School of Love'.
A number paintings from the Gonzaga collection were purchased by Charles I of England, in 1627.