Isabella d’Este

Isabella d’Este

Arms of Este, from a 16th c. ceiling fresco in the Villa d'Este, Tivoli.
Arms of Este, from a 16th c. ceiling fresco in the Villa d’Este, Tivoli.

She’s one of the women of history that few remember today, but she was well-known in her time and is worth remembering for her contributions to Renaissance history and the insights we can learn from her unusual position and role. Isabella d’Este supported artists, writers, poets and musicians of the Italian Renaissance, collecting art and antiquities — and occasionally served as regent for her husband or son, even leading military defenses. She and her sister were given the same classical education in childhood as her brothers were. At the end of her life, she became a ruler in her own right of a small territory.

 

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