Isabella D'Este Report
In the Renaissance era, Renaissance women had very little expectations set upon them. All they had to do in order to achieve success in life was marry, show loyalty towards her spouse, and give birth to a son. Conversely, Renaissance men had to have a quality education, show artistic refinement, act like a gentleman, and have an appreciation for certain areas of study. Males of the Renaissance times were also expected to be of a noble birth and have gumption. However, some women did not fit into the stereotype of a typical Renaissance female figure for one reason or another. Those special women would be considered more akin to Renaissance men; they went on to be much more accomplished than the traditional Renaissance woman. A great example of one who strived to be more than other woman and broke this typecast was Isabella d’Este, one of the most revered women to live during the Renaissance period.
Isabella d’Este was born on Tuesday, May 19, 1474, at nine o’clock in the evening, into the regal Ferra family. It is rumored that she might have been named after Queen Isabella I of Spain, a distant relation. One year later, her little sister, Bernice d’Este, was born, and two of her brothers, Alfonso and Ippolitto, arrived in 1476 and 1477, in that order. In the years 1479 and 1480, respectively, Ferrante and Sigismondo d’Este were born. However, out of all the youth in the d’Este family, Isabella was the oldest and the favorite of her parents. In 1479, the same year that Ferrante was born, Isabella went on a journey to Naples, accompanied by her mother, Lenora of Naples. When her mother came back to Ferrara, Isabella went with her, whereas the other d’Este children stayed with their grandfather for eight years. It was on the course of her trip that Isabella obtained a deep understanding of diplomacy and statecraft. As a child, she received excellent instruction in different areas of importance, like the arts and language. She had always been intellectually precocious as a child, and being educated as well as she was only helped further her in terms of smartness and decorum. When she was a small child she learned much about the history of Rome. She also learned to translate Greek and Latin; Greek soon became her favorite dialect to speak. Due to the fact that she was quite clever and gifted as a child, she often discussed olden times, poetry, foreign language, and affairs of state with ambassadors. Additionally, she also knew the musicians, authors, scholars, and painters that lived close to the court personally. Isabella could also recite Virgil and Terrence from memory; moreover, she was an exceptional singer and musician who was taught to play a lute by Giovanni Angelo Testagrossa. On top of all of these stellar accomplishments, Isabella was also an incredible dancer who was instructed in the art by Ambrogio, a Jewish dancing prodigy. Additionally, she and Beatrice d’Este both studied astrology, music, and Roman history. She was illustrated as having been very beautiful and attractive, though she was somewhat plump. She possessed lively, cheerful-looking eyes and had a graceful disposition that was more like that of an adult than it was similar to a child’s manner of completing tasks. In the year 1480 at the incredibly young age of six, Isabella was betrothed to Francesco Gonzaga, who was the heir to the Marquis of Mantua. Although Francesco was not very handsome, she still esteemed the man for his potency and gumption. After their first few meetings, Isabella grew to like him and spent the following years getting to know her future husband and practicing to become the next Marchesa of Mantua. During their courtship, Francesco gave Isabella several different notes, poems, and sonnets; Isabella treasured all of these as gifts of Francesco Gonzaga’s love for her. About ten years later on the date of February 11th, 1490, at the mere age of sixteen, Isabella finally married Gonzaga, who...
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