If Isabella d'Este had been the Duchess of Milan...

The blind Fortune played her game with the lives of Isabella and Beatrice d'Este. Princesses, sisters, patrons of the arts, rivals. And Muses of Leonardo da Vinci.
In the year 1480, two ambassadors - one from Mantua and one from Milan - reached the Castle of Ferrara. They both had the same mission: to represent their Lords, asking for the hand of the six-years-old six-year-old Isabella d'Este, daughter of Ercole, the Duke of Ferrara. The ambassador of the Gonzagas, rulers of Mantua, arrived first. So the young Princess d'Este was betrothed to Francesco Gonzaga, heir of the ruling household of Mantua.
And the future Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, had to content himself with an engagement to Beatrice, Isabella's younger sister.
Was this a joke of the Fates? Perhaps it was: in the following years Isabella had to complain more than one time, dreaming that once she might have had the destiny of her younger sister. But, in the end, Beatrice died young giving birth to a stillborn son, and the good star of Ludovico soon faded into disgrace.
How would the Milanese Renaissance have been, if Isabella d'Este had been the Duchess of the city? We can only speculate about this.
But something would have been exactly the same.

In many of the rooms of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, we can still see the joined Coats of Arms of Ludovico Sforza and Beatrice d'Este. For example at the center of the ceiling of the Sala delle Asse, frescoed by Leonardo da Vinci. 
A similar impaled Coat of Arms appears above the Last Supper, in the central lunette. The same Sforza-Este Arms are also carved on a keystone in the cloister of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Another example is offered by an embroidered paliotto (altar frontispiece) now in the Sacro Monte in Varese, woven on the occasion of Ludovico and Beatrice's marriage.

If Isabella d'Este had become the wife of Ludovico, and so Duchess of Milano, all these Coats of Arms would have been exactly the same. And we can imagine what kind of thoughts may have crossed Isabella's mind, every time she looked at her sister's Coat of Arms.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...