Diocesan Museum of Mantova


The Francesco Gonzaga Museum was founded in 1983 as the diocesan museum of Mantua. Entitled to Francesco Gonzaga (1546-1620), who was also a bishop of Mantua, the museum was originally meant to host treasures from several churches around the diocese, which had not the possibility to preserve them.
Yet, since 2008, its organization has been strongly renovated and rearranged. Though it is still juridically a diocesan museum, the Francesco Gonzaga Museum is today the most important art museum in Mantua, constantly increasing its collections. Additionally, it hosts what still remains in town that had belonged to the ruling branch of the Gonzaga family.


On 1974, at the Doge's Palace in Mantua, an exhibition entitled "Treasures of art in the land of the Gonzaga" was held, which presented a series of masterpieces so far unknown, largely coming from churches in the diocese. The success of the exhibition led its creator, Monsignor Luigi Bosio, to design a permanent exhibition of such works, assembled in a special museum. The "Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art", as it was then called, was inaugurated in 1983, collecting artefacts of various nature - paintings, sculptures, goldsmiths, fabrics, miniature books, pottery, ivory and even guerrilla instruments - no longer in use after The liturgical reform followed at the Second Vatican Council, or places on sites that can not ensure their proper preservation. After the opening, the first set of exhibited objects grew rapidly, even for large private donations, and in parallel expanded the space they intended to make up a major museum not only in the city: Of many experts, the beauty and preciousness of his treasures, some of them unmatched by the world, give him an international significance. After obtaining recognition from the Lombardy Region, the museum inaugurated on June 7, 2008 the new set-up and recovery of the neoclassical front.


The museum is named after an exponent of the most remarkable of the noble family who dominated the territory of Mantua from 1328 to 1707, the venerable bishop, Friar Francesco Gonzaga. He was born in 1546 in Gazzuolo, of which Father Carlo held the Lordship; Who was soon orphaned, was in Madrid, following Philip II king of Spain, when he made the decision to become a friar, entering the Franciscan Order where he changed the original name of Annibale to that of Francis. Strictly confessed to the confreres, at the age of 32, he was elected general minister of all order, who was impressed by a profound renewal according to the letter and spirit of the Council of Trent. The same renewal later led to the diocese of Cefal├╣, of which he became bishop, and subsequently to that of Mantua, which ranged from 1593 to death in 1620. Here, among other things, he founded the seminary for the formation of priests, reorganized the institutions Of charity, founded churches and convents, and completed the decoration of the cathedral with a grand cycle of frescoes, new altars, tapestries and refined furnishings. Others came to Paris where he was sent as a papal nuncio for two years and where he reconciled France and Spain (Vervins Peace, 1598).
Tireless activity, personal poverty (even as a bishop continued to dress the humble Franciscan sais) and the other virtues of which he has consistently proved have led to the process of his beatification, which has now come to the stage recognizing him Venerable title. The tapestries of the cathedral and the precious works of goldsmiths he wanted are now admissible to the museum, for this reason, and generally for his love of sacred art, entitled to his name.