Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy by Sarah Bradford

By Sarah Bradford

The very identify Lucrezia Borgia evokes every little thing that used to be sinister and corrupt in regards to the Renaissance—incest, political assassination, papal sexual abuse, toxic intrigue, unscrupulous energy grabs. but as bestselling biographer Sarah Bradford unearths during this breathtaking new portrait, actually way more attention-grabbing than the fable. Neither a vicious monster nor a seductive pawn, Lucrezia Borgia was once a wise, decided lady who used her good looks and intelligence to safe a key position within the political struggles of her day.
Born the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Cardinal Borgia and his scheming mistress, Vannozza Cattanei, Lucrezia used to be twelve whilst her father grew to become Pope Alexander VI and 13 while she used to be compelled into her first marriage. She could marry two times extra, gaining expanding strength with each one fit, till she got here into her personal as duchess of the city-state of Ferrara. Bradford argues that during her adulthood Lucrezia was once an enlightened ruler, variety and decisive in time of battle, beneficiant to the poets and artists of her courtroom, passionate in love, and totally detached to sexual morality.
Drawing from a trove of latest records and interesting firsthand bills, Bradford brings to existence the paintings, the pageantry, and the harmful politics of the Renaissance international Lucrezia Borgia helped to create. Bradford is a professional at the Borgia relatives and in Lucrezia she has chanced on a subject matter splendid to her reward for narrative and mental perception. intercourse, gossip, homicide, remarkable attractiveness, and ambition— this is often the Renaissance at its so much impossible to resist.

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Giulia Farnese. Detail from The Transfiguration by Raphael, Pinacoteca, Vatican, Rome (Photo: Scala, Florence) 9. Giovanni Sforza, Lucrezia’s first husband. British Museum, London (Photo: © Trustees of The British Museum) 10. Alfonso d’Aragona, Lucrezia’s second husband. 801, f. 146V. (Photo: Pierpont Morgan Library) 11. Ercole I d’Este, Lucrezia’s father-in-law by her third marriage, by Dosso Dossi. Galleria e Museo Estense, Modena (Photo: Laborado Pincelli) 12. Castello Estense, Ferrara (Photo: Scala, Florence) 13.

They employed their relations and compatriots as the only people they could trust in a potentially hostile environment. In Rome itself and its immediate environs, the independence and security of the papacy were threatened by the great baronial families with palaces in the city and strongholds in the Roman Campagna, the Colonna and the Orsini, and their lesser allies; only the fact that the two families invariably worked against each other made the situation inside and immediately outside the city tenable for the holder of the papal throne.

In times of war and plague, she administered justice and oversaw the defence of Ferrara. As she had survived the violence of the papal court of the Borgias she survived the inbred violence of the Este family; only childbirth, the curse of the age for women, ultimately defeated her. More recent historians have imposed their own patterns on Lucrezia: in going back to the original sources, the thousands of papers in the archives of Modena, Mantua, Milan and the Vatican, I have let Lucrezia speak for herself.

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