1478 - 1529



Baldassare Castiglione was a great man and a big influence in the Italian Renaissance.


Baldassare Castiglione was born in Casatico near Mantua in the year 1478. Throughout his life he lived mostly in Milan and Urbino. In his life he met the now famous artist Raphael. And with meeting Raphael he had himself painted. When he was 18, in 1496, he was sent to the court of Lodovico at Milan. At this court Castiglione pleased everyone with his good manners and excellence in athletics, letters, music, and art.

His father, the Count Cristoforo Castiglione, died and that was when his mother started urging him to get married. He kept his mother waiting seventeen years. During war time he became a soldier for a short time. He also held a number of posts in the great courts of Italy and Spain. After a broken ankle stopped him from being a soldier he became a diplomat. He then spent eleven years in the court of Urbino.

During his extended stay at the court of Urbino, Castiglione discussed love, art, philosophy, and the nature of man. Castiglione liked many things such as singing, dancing, playing games, and listening to music. He became friends with Duke Guidobaldo whom he had served as a soldier. The two spent most of their time with the duke's wife and other members of the court The three became close friends and spent most of their time together.


During his stay at the court of Urbino he wrote a book called The Book Of The Courtier. This book changed the Renaissance greatly in many ways such as the behaviour expectations of the courtier and what his wife should do to help her husband. He also said that the courtier should be of noble birth. He should be good at certain sports like tennis, throwing rocks, jumping, running, and swimming. He should also have a broad education in many different areas and also be witty, pleasant and an aristocrat. Castiglione also wrote a drama called Tirsi in 1506. He also wrote many pastoral and courtly poems in Italian and Latin.


Castiglione had a great influence through his writing on Renaissance behavior. His book was a great help in the shaping of the Italian Renaissance.

Castiglione was very popular in court. This is a picture of court life.


1. Bernardo Aldo S. Castiglione Baldassare. Toronto, World Book Encyclopaedia, Inc., 1984, p. 208.

2. Shapiro, Irwin. The Golden Book of the Renaissance. New York, Golden Press, 1983, pp. 146-147, 345-348.

3. "Castiglione Baldassare." Encarta Encyclopedia CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation, 1995.

This page was prepared by Matt, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.