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The art of expenditure: the court of Paola Malatesta Gonzaga in fifteenth-century Mantua

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The paper draws on four surviving account books to examine the way a female court functioned during the first quarter of the fifteenth century. The documents, which have never received detailed attention, record Paola Malatesta Gonzaga's income and expenditure over an almost twenty-year period, revealing her close attention to her land, estates, and the welfare of her famiglia. They also provide considerable new information for Paola's important, and now almost entirely lost, patronage of religious institutions in Mantua. From her previous historiographic role as the wife of Mantua's first marquis, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, or as the mother of Ludovico and Cecilia Gonzaga, Paola emerges as an energetic, ambitious and culturally sensitive figure whose biography deserves re-examination.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sussex

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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