Isabella d' Este: Great Woman of the Renaissance Essay

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Historians and scholars often overlook the part that women played in the Renaissance. Did women have a Renaissance? The period did not occur in a male only vacuum; women played an important part in the changes taking place across Europe. No matter a woman’s station in the class system, women, were still considered the sinful daughter of Eve, the downfall of man. Into this world stepped Isabella d’Este, one of the great women of the Renaissance.
Isabella d’Este left behind not only the great works of art that she collected and commissioned during her lifetime but a treasure trove “amounting to upwards of two thousand letters, which have fortunately been preserved.” Through these letters, scholars learn what kind of woman Isabella was,
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She and her sister Beatrice were given and education that was equal to that of her brothers. The young Isabella was engaged to Giovanni Francesco Gonzaga when she was six years old. Historian and Biographer Julia Cartwright Ady quotes Cosmio Tura, “I can assure you that her marvelous knowledge and intelligence are far more worthy of admiration [than her beauty].” Isabella was a stunning beauty but she impressed even diplomatic visitors to her father’s court with her keen intellect.
Her home in Ferrara was a center of culture and learning, and Isabella benefitted from this at an early age. Her parents were both classically educated and from her birth, Isabella was surrounded by scholars, poets, artists and the great works of art her parents had collected. To a young Isabella appreciation of art must have came naturally her father reportedly had three passions the love of building, of the theater and traveling. Her Mother collected art and decorated her private rooms as well with her husband their homes. Her father was also a collector of art and antiquities. Later in her life, their tastes would diverge and Isabella chose a more secular tract; she did not completely decorate or build a church. Isabella reflected both her parents in her patronage but she was mainly attracted to the works of European masters as was her mother.
At age sixteen, Isabella married Francesco Gonzaga, the

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