|Isabella d'Este portrayed as St. Justina of Padua, the favorite saint of Ferrara|
"Isabella d'Este caught everyone's eye, although she was no queen, no holder of great power, but merely the spouse of a little Italian prince, a worthless man by the name of Francesco Gonzaga.
This brilliant woman rose above crime, barbarism, savagery, depravity, cynicism, above avalanches of villainy and rivers of blood. She was no beauty, but so feminine her charms exuded rays of inspiration, in which basked many a poet, artist, musician...
She was aware of everything that was going on in the world; she never missed a chance to help someone in need; she wrote letters to the influential persons of her epoch, using her words to promote artists. She always found the right words of praise for artists, treating them like geniuses; she asked them to present her with their drawings and paintings; she was their best critic; she even gave them minor instructions.
The divine Leonardo painted her portrait, and the image of this astounding woman is here for the successors to admire. Plump cheeks, long thick-tipped nose, strong chin with a hint of a jowl, slightly bulging eyes, small mouth with a promise etched in its pout, a sparkle in the eyes - a sign of an extraordinary mind. Cool, decisive, aware of her own goals and intentions - what woman would not want to be like her?"
Translated by me.
|Isabella d'Este. Drawing and portrait by Leonardo da Vinci.|