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 Cefalù, 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.