Isabella d'Este 1474-1539


Isabelle d' Este was born on May 18, 1474 in Ferrara, Italy. She was the oldest of six and was born into a ruling family. She was raised in a household where culture, politics, and arts were heavily influenced which would help her in her future endeavors. Talented in singing , dancing, and playing the lute. She could also translate and speak both Latin and Greek at 16. Due to her parents believing in equal education, she received the education of a man at her time. She came to power because of her husband, Francesco II, being captured by Venetian troops.


  • Known as the "First Lady of the Renaissance".
  • Related to nearly all of Italy's rulers either by marriage or birth.
  • Founded a school for young women to receive the same education as young men.
  • Influenced artistic fashion for women in Europe.
  • Ended the famine of Mantua in 1527.
  • Suspected to be a candidate for the painting 'Mona Lisa'.

Social/Cultural Legacy

  • Style mimicked by European women.
  • Made Mantua a center for culture.
  • Opened a school for girls to be educated equally.
  • Opened museums to display her finest antique arts.
  • Supporter painters such as Da Vinci, Titian, and Mategna.
  • Invented knickers.
  • Wrote letters that showed the Renaissance in the perspective of a woman; 12,000 which are archived in Mantua today. (Archived at the Archivio di Stato di Mantova, Mantova, Italy.)

Political/ Economic Legacy

  • Successfully gained control of the military due to the loyalty of her people.
  • Took on a non-confrontational approach to foreign policy.
  • Defended Mantua against French attacks in 1527.
  • Promoted Mantua to a Duchy, which was obtained by the wise diplomatic use of her son's marriage contracts.




Created with images by Cea. - "[ T ] Titian - Portrait of Isabella d'Este (1534)peg"

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