(1478 - 1529)
Baldassare Castiglione entered into the service of Francesco Gonzaga, the marquis of Mantua, in 1499 and of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, the duke of Urbino, in 1504. Later, in Rome, he served Pope Julius II and befriended the painter Raphael. Castiglione began writing The Book of the Courtier, his treatise on gentlemanly virtues, in 1508 while serving the rulers of Urbino; it was not published until 1528. Castiglione covered half the printing costs, saving one copy for himself, “the pages gilded and well-pressed and covered with leather of some rich color.” Castiglione’s book was translated into Spanish in 1534, French in 1537, and English in 1561. Francis Bacon and Thomas Cromwell were among its early readers in the English language.