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Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua

Isabella (1474 - 1539) was born and educated in the court of Ferrara, where she received an education in the classics.

In 1490 she married Francesco Gonzaga of Mantua, and moved from one important centre of Renaissance culture to another. She was an enthusiastic and demanding patron of the arts, energetically pursuing any artist she admired.

Mantegna was still the court artist at Mantua, and for Isabella he painted two of his later mythologies. Perugino painted another for her. Bellini, however, proved obstinate and her demands for a specific subject gave way to pleas for anything by him, but he continued to resist. When Giorgione died she sent her agent to buy a painting believed to be in his studio, but failed to acquire it. She also desperately hoped to acquire a work by Leonardo da Vinci.

Costa succeeded Mantegna as her court artist.