In superintending the distribution of the Mantuan territory amongst the veterans, he used his influence to save from confiscation the property of the poet Virgil.
The Socialist party, which had grown powerful under a series of weak-kneed administrations, now began to show signs of division; on the one hand there was the revolutionary wing, led by Signor Enrico Fern, the Mantuan deputy, which advocated a policy of uncompromising class warfare, and on the other the riformisti, or moderate Socialists, led by Signor Filippo Turati, deputy for Milan, who adopted a more conciliatory attitude and were ready to ally themselves with other parliamentary parties.
The Marquis Lodovico Gonzaga of Mantua had for some time been pressing Mantegna to enter his service; and the following year, 1460, was perhaps the one in which he actually established himself at the Mantuan court, residing at first from time to time at Goito, but, from December 1466 onwards, with his family in Mantua itself.
Some of his early Mantuan works are in that apartment of the Castello which is termed the Camera degli Sposi - full compositions in fresco, including various portraits of the Gonzaga family, and some figures of genii, &c. In 1488 he went to Rome at the request of Pope Innocent VIII., to paint the frescoes in the chapel of the Belvedere in the Vatican; the marquis of Mantua (Federigo) created him a cavaliere before his departure.
The pope treated Mantegna with less liberality than he had been used to at the Mantuan court; but on the whole their connexion, which ceased in 1490, was not unsatisfactory to either party.
They were sold in 1628 along with the bulk of the Mantuan art treasures, and were not, as is commonly said, plundered in the sack of Mantua in 1630.
The influence of Mantegna on the style and tendency of his age was very marked, and extended not only to his own flourishing Mantuan school, but over Italian art generally.
Aldus in his edition of Cicero's De universitate (1583), dedicated to Crichton, laments the 3rd of July as the fatal day; and this account is apparently confirmed by the Mantuan state papers recently unearthed by Mr. Douglas Crichton (Proc. Soc. of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1909).
Aided by their Milanese, Mantuan and Paduan allies, they gave battle to their rivals, put them to rout at Altopascio (Oct.
Entrusted him, in 1629, with the difficult task of putting an end to the war of the Mantuan succession.
The Mantuan peasant was grieved at the notion of his harvest being gathered by barbarian soldiers, and the Irishman could not be better pleased to see his destroyed.
And this was only the forerunner of more signal reverses; for, in a short time, Villeroi was forced to abandon the whole of the Mantuan territory and to take refuge in Cremona, where he seems to have considered himself secure.
He therefore took counsel merely with his interest as a temporal prince, threw in his lot with France, supported the duke of Nevers in the Mantuan Succession, and, under stress of ' fear of Habsburg supremacy, suffered himself to be drawn into closer relations with the Protestants than beseemed his office, and incurred the reproach of rejoicing in the victories of heretics.