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Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497, by Julia Mary Cartwright This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497 Author: Julia Mary Cartwright Release Date: May 27, 2008 [EBook #25622] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BEATRICE D'ESTE *** Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Barbara Kosker and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Bianca Sforza by Ambrogio de Predis. (Ambrosiana) ToList BEATRICE D'ESTE DUCHESS OF MILAN 1475-1497 A STUDY OF THE RENAISSANCE BY JULIA CARTWRIGHT (MRS HENRY ADY) Author of "Madame," "Sacharissa," "J. F. Millet" 1910 LONDON: J. M. DENT & SONS, LTD. NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO. First Edition, November, 1899 Second Edition, June, 1903 Third Edition, November, 1903 Fourth Edition February, 1905 Fifth Edition, July, 1908 Sixth Edition, May, 1910 All rights reserved [Pg v] PREFACE During the last twenty years the patient researches of successive students in the archives of North Italian cities have been richly rewarded. The State papers of Milan and Venice, of Ferrara and Modena, have yielded up their treasures; the correspondence of Isabella d'Este, in the Gonzaga archives at Mantua, has proved a source of inexhaustible wealth and knowledge. A flood of light has been thrown on the history of Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; public events and personages have been placed in a new aspect; the judgments of posterity have been modified and, in some instances, reversed. We see now, more clearly than ever before, what manner of men and women these Estes and Gonzagas, these Sforzas and Viscontis, were. We gain fresh insight into their characters and aims, their secret motives and private wishes. We see them in their daily occupations and amusements, at their work and at their play. We follow them from the battle-field and council chamber, from the chase and tournament, to the privacy of domestic life and the intimate scenes of the family circle. And we realize how, in spite of the tragic stories or bloodshed and strife that darkened their lives, in spite, too, of the low standard of morals and of the crimes and vices that we are accustomed to associate with Renaissance princes, there was a rare measure of beauty and goodness, of culture and refinement, of love of justice and zeal for truth, among them. As the latest historian of the Papacy, Dr. Pastor, has wisely remarked, we must take care not to paint the state of morals during the Italian Renaissance blacker than it really was. Virtue goes quietly on her way, while vice is noisy and uproarious; the criminal forces himself upon the public attention, while the honest man does his duty in silence, and no one hears of him. This is especially the case with the women of the Renaissance. They had their faults and their weaknesses, but the great majority among them led pure and irreproachable lives, and trained their children in the paths of truth and duty. Even Lucrezia Borgia, although she may not have been altogether immaculate, was not the foul creature that we once believed. And the more closely we study these newly discovered documents, the more we become convinced that this age produced some of the most admirable types of womanhood that the world has ever seen. When Castiglione painted his ideal woman in the pages of the "Cortigiano," he had no need to draw on his imagination. Elizabeth Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, and Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, were both of them women of great intellect and stainless virtue, whose genuine love of art and letters attracted the choicest spirits to their court, and exerted the most beneficial influence on the thought of the day. Isabella, whose vast correspondence with the foremost painters and scholars of the age has been preserved almost intact, was probably the most remarkable lady of the Renaissance. The story of her long and eventful life—a theme of absorbing interest—yet remains to be written. The present work is devoted to the history of her younger sister, Beatrice, Duchess of Milan, who, as the wife of Lodovico Sforza, reigned during six years over the most splendid court of Italy. The charm of her personality, the important part which she played in political life at a critical moment of Italian history, her love of music and poetry, and the fine taste which she inherited, in common with every princess of the house of Este, all help to make Beatrice singularly attractive, while the interest which she inspires is deepened by the pathos of her sudden and early death. If in Isabella we have the supreme representative of Renaissance culture in its highest and most intellectual phase, Beatrice is the type of that new-found joy in life, that intoxicating rapture in the actual sense of existence, that was the heri tage of her generation, and found expression in the words of a contemporary novelist, Matteo Bandello—himself of Lombard birth—when with his last breath he bade his companions live joyously, "Vivete lieti!" We see this bride of sixteen summers flinging herself with passionate delight into every amusement, singing gay songs with her courtiers, dancing and hunting through the livelong day, outstripping all her companions in the chase, and laughing in the face of danger. We see her holding her court in the famous Castello of Porta Giovia or in the summer palaces of Vigevano and Cussago, in these golden days when Milan was called the new Athens, when Leonardo and Bramante decorated palaces or arranged masquerades at the duke's bidding, when Gaspare Visconti wrote sonnets in illuminated books, and Lorenzo da Pavia constructed organs or viols as perfect and beautiful to see as to hear, for the pleasure of the youthful duchess. Scholars and poets, painters and writers, gallant soldiers and accomplished cavaliers, we see them all at Beatrice's feet, striving how best they may gratify her fancies and win her smiles. Young and old, they were alike devoted to her service, from Galeazzo di Sanseverino, the valiant captain who became her willing slave and chosen companion, to [Pg vi] [Pg vii] Niccolo da Correggio, that all-accomplished gentleman who laid down his pen and sword to design elaborate devices for his mistress's new gowns. We read her merry letters to her husband and sister, letters sparkling with wit and gaiety and overflowing with simple and natural affection. We see her rejoicing with all a young mother's proud delight over her first-born son, repeating, as mothers will, marvellous tales of his size and growth, and framing tender phrases for his infant lips. And we catch glimpses of her, too, in sadder moods, mourning her mother's loss or wounded by neglect and unkindness. We note how keenly her proud spirit resents wrong and injustice, and how in her turn she is not always careful of the rights and feelings of her rivals. But whatever her faults and mistakes may have been, she is always kindly and generous, human and lovable. A year or two passes, and we see her, royally arrayed in brocade and jewels, standing up in the great council hall of Venice, to plead her husband's cause before the Doge and Senate. Later on we find her sharing her lord's counsels in court and camp, receiving king and emperor at Pavia or Vigevano, fascinating the susceptible heart of Charles VIII. by her charms, and amazing Kaiser Maximilian by her wisdom and judgment in affairs of state. And then suddenly the music and dancing, the feasting and travelling, cease, and the richly coloured and animated pageant is brought to an abrupt close. Beatrice dies, without a moment's warning, in the flower of youth and beauty, and the young duchess is borne to her grave in S. Maria delle Grazie amid the tears and lamentations of all Milan. And with her death, the whole Milanese state, that fabric which Lodovico Sforza had built up at such infinite cost and pains, crumbles into ruin. Fortune, which till that hour had smiled so kindly on the Moro and had raised him to giddy heights of prosperity, now turned her back upon him. In three short years he had lost everything—crown, home, and liberty —and was left to drag out a miserable existence in the dungeons of Berry and Touraine. "And when Duchess Beatrice died," wrote the poet, Vincenzo Calmeta, "everything fell into ruin, and that court, which had been a joyous paradise, was changed into a black Inferno." Then Milan and her people become a prey to the rude outrages of French soldiery. Leonardo's great horse was broken in pieces by Gascon archers, and the Castello, "which had once held the finest flower of the whole world, became," in Castiglione's words, "a place of drinking-booths and dung-hills." The treasures of art and beauty stored up within its walls were destroyed by barbarous hands, and all that brilliant company was dispersed and scattered abroad. Artists and poets, knights and scholars—Leonardo and Bramante, Galeazzo and Niccolo—were driven out, and went their way each in a different direction, to seek new homes and other patrons. But the memory of the young duchess—the Donna beata of Pistoja and Visconti's song—lived for many a year in the hearts of her loyal servants, Castiglione enshrined her name in his immortal pages, Ariosto celebrated her virtues in the cantos of his "Orlando Furioso," and far on in the new century, grey-headed scholars spoke of her as "la più zentil Donna d'Italia"—the sweetest lady in all Italy. And to-day, as we pace the dim aisles of the great Certosa, we may look on the marble effigy of Duchess Beatrice and see the lovely face with the curling locks and child-like features which the Lombard sculptor carved, and which still bears witness to the love of Lodovico Sforza for his young wife. [Pg viii] [Pg ix] In conclusion, I must acknowledge how deeply I am indebted to Signor Luzio, keeper of the Gonzaga archives at Mantua, and to his able colleague, Signor Renier, for the assistance which they have lent to my researches, as well as for the help afforded by their own publications, in which many of Isabella and Beatrice d'Este's most interesting letters have already been given to the world. The State archives of Milan and Mantua are the principal sources from which the information contained in the present volume is drawn, and a list of the other authorities which have been consulted is given below. ITALIAN. Archivio di Stato di Milano, Beatrice d'Este, Potenze estere, etc. Archivio Gonzaga Mantova, Copia lettera d'Isabella d'Este, etc. A. Luzio and R. Renier, Delle Relazioni di Isabella d'Este Gonzaga con Ludovico and Beatrice Sforza. Archivio Storico lombardo, xvii. T. Chalcus, Residua. Milano, 1644. Archivio Storico Italiano, serie i. vol. iii.; Cronache Milanesi di G. A. Prato, G. P. Cagnola, G. M. Burigozzo, etc.; Serie iii. vol. xii., Serie v. vol. vi., Serie vii. vol. i. L. A. Muratori, Italicarum Rerum Scriptores, vol. xxiv. F. Muralti, Annalia. Paolo Giovio, Storia di suoi Tempi . Marino Sanuto, Diarii, De Bello Gallico, etc. Bernardino Corio, Historie Milanese. Rosmini, Storia di Milano. Fr. Guicciardini, Storia a'Italia. Rendered into English by G. Fenton. 1618. F. Frizzi, Storia di Ferrara, vols. iv. and v. P. Verri, Storia di Milano. Baldassare Castiglione, Lettere. Edizione Serassi. R. Renier, Sonetti di Pistoia . Giornale Storico di Letteratura Italiano, vols. v. and vi. Archivio Storico dell' Arte, vols. i. and ii. Renier, Canzoniere di Niccolo da Correggio. A. Campo Ghisolfo, Storia delle Duchesse di Milano. 1542. Rivista Storica Mantovana. Carlo Magenta, I Visconti e Sforza nel Castello di Pavia . F. Calvi, Bianca Maria Sforza Visconti, Regina dei Romani, Imperatrice di Germania. Marchese d'Adda, Indagini sulla Liberia Visconti Sforzesca del Castello di Pavia. Malipiero, Annali Veneti . Romanini, Storia di Venezia, vols. v. and vi. [Pg x] Imhoff, Historia Genealogica Italiæ. G. Uzielli, Ricerche intorno a Leonardo da Vinci. G. Uzielli, Leonardo da Vinci e Tre Gentil donne Milanesi . G. d'Adda, Lodovico Maria Sforza. L. Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, sotto il dominio degli Sforza . 14501535. L. Beltrami, Bramante poeta. Padre Pino, Storia genuina del Cenacolo. 1796. B. Bellincioni, Le Rime annotate da P. Fanfani. Bologna. G. Tiraboschi, Storia della Letteratura Italiana, vols. vi. and vii. P. Molmenti, La Vita Privata di Venezia. A. Rusconi, Lodovico il Moro a Novara. F. Gabotto, Girolamo Tuttavilla. G. L. Calvi, Notizie dei principali Professori di Belle Arti che fiorivano in Milano. G. Mongeri, L'Arte in Milano. C. Amoretti, Memorie Storiche sulla vita gli studi e le opere di Leonardo da Vinci. Brigola, Annali della Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano . Carlo dell'Acqua, Lorenza Gusnasco di Pavia. P. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza. FRENCH. Manuscrits Italiens, Affaires d'état. Bibliothèque Nationale. Pasquier le Moine, MS. La Conquête du Duché de Milan. Bibliothèque Nationale. Jean d'Auton, Chroniques de Louis XII. Edition publiée pour la Société de l'Histoire de France, par R. de Maulde La Claviere. 4 vols. Philippe de Commines, Memoires. Nouvelle edition publiée par la Société de l'Histoire de France. Vicomte Delaborde, L'Expédition de Charles VIII. en Italie. M. Eugène Müntz, La Renaissance en Italie et en France à l'époque de Charles VIII. M. Eugène Müntz, Musée du Capitole. M. Eugène Müntz, Leonardo da Vinci. C. de Cherrier, Histoire de Charles VIII, Roi de France, d'après des documents diplomatiques inédits. Louis Pélissier, Louis XII. et Lodovico Sforza . Recherches dans les Archives Italiennes. Louis Pélissier, Notes Italiennes. [Pg xi] Louis Pélissier, Les amies de Lodovico Sforza. (Revue historique.) Edmond Gaultier, Étude historique sur Loches . Paravicini, Architecture de la Renaissance en Italie. Aldo Manuzio, Lettres et Documents . Armand Baschet. Gazette des Beaux Arts , vol. xvi. GERMAN. Dr. Ludwig Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste , vols. v. and vi. Jacob Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien . Dr. W. Bode, Dr. Müller-Walde, Jahrbuch Kunstsammlungen. Vols. ix., x., and xviii. Dr. Müller-Walde, Leonardo da Vinci. ENGLISH. der K. Preuss. K. Kindt, Die Katastrophe Lodovico Moro in Novara. History of the Papacy , by Dr. Creighton, Bishop of London. Vols. iv. and v. The End of the Middle Ages , by Madame James Darmetester. The Renaissance in Italy . J. A. Symonds. Old Touraine. T. Cook [Pg xiii] CONTENTS PAGE CHAPTER I 1471-1480 The Castello of Ferrara—The House of Este —Accession of Duke Ercole I.—His marriage to Leonora of Aragon—Birth of Isabella and Beatrice d'Este—Plot of Niccolo d'Este—Visit of Leonora to Naples—The court of King Ferrante—Betrothal of Beatrice d'Este to Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Bari —And of Isabella d'Este to Francesco Gonzaga CHAPTER II 1451-1582 Lodovico Sforza—Known as Il Moro—His birth and childhood 1 —Murder of Duke Galeazzo Maria—Regency of Duchess Bona—Exile of the Sforza brothers —Lodovico at Pisa—His invasion of Lombardy and return to Milan—Death of Cecco Simonetta —Flight of Duchess Bona—Lodovico Regent of Milan CHAPTER III 1482-1490 Wars of Venice and Ferrara—Invasion of Ferrara —Lodovico Sforza and Alfonso of Calabria come to the help of Ercole d'Este—Peace of Bagnolo —Prosperity of Ferrara, and cultivation of art and learning at Ercole's court—Guarino and Aldo Manuzio—Strozzi and Boiardo—Architecture and painting—The frescoes of the Schifanoia—Music and the drama—Education of Isabella and Beatrice d'Este CHAPTER IV 1485-1490 Isabella d'Este—Lodovico Sforza delays his wedding —Plot against his life—Submission of Genoa —Duke Gian Galeazzo—The Sanseverini brothers—Messer Galeazzo made CaptainGeneral of the Milanese armies—His marriage to Bianca Sforza—Marriage of Gian Galeazzo to Isabella of Aragon—Wedding festivities at Milan —Lodovico draws up his marriage contract with Beatrice d'Este CHAPTER V 1490-1491 Marriage of Isabella d'Este—Lodovico puts off his wedding—Cecilia Gallerani—Her portrait by Leonardo da Vinci—Mission of Galeazzo Visconti to Ferrara—Preparations for Beatrice's wedding— Cristoforo Romano's bust—Duchess Leonora and her daughters travel to Piacenza and Pavia —Their reception at Pavia by Lodovico CHAPTER VI 1491 City and University of Pavia—Duomo and Castello —The library of the Castello—Wedding of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Bari, and Beatrice d'Este, in the chapel of the Castello of Pavia —Galeazzo di San Severino and Orlando 11 27 [Pg xiv] 40 50 —Reception of the bride in Milan— Tournaments and festivities at the Castello—Visit of Duchess Leonora to the Certosa of Pavia CHAPTER VII 1491 Beatrice Duchess of Bari—Her popularity at the court of Milan— Giangaleazzo and Isabella of Aragon —Lodovico's first impressions—His growing affection for his wife—His letters to Isabella d'Este —Hunting and fishing parties—Cussago and Vigevano—Controversy on Orlando and Rinaldo —Bellincioni's sonnets CHAPTER VIII 1491 Relations between Lodovico and Beatrice—Cecilia Gallerani—Birth of her son Cesare—Her marriage to Count Bergamini—Beatrice at Villa Nova and Vigevano—The Sforzesca and Pecorara —Lodovico's system of irrigation in the Lomellina —Leonardo at Vigevano— Hunting-parties and country life—Letters to Isabella d'Este CHAPTER IX 1491-1492 Isabella of Aragon and Beatrice d'Este—Ambrogio Borgognone and Giovanni Antonio Amadeo —Cristoforo Romano and his works at Pavia and Cremona—The Certosa of Pavia—Illness of Beatrice —Her journey to Genoa—Correspondence between Isabella and Lodovico Sforza—Visit of the Marquis of Mantua to Milan CHAPTER X 1491 Claims of Charles VIII. to Naples—Of the Duke of Orleans to Milan —Intrigues of the Venetian Senate, of Pope Innocent VIII., and of Ferrante and Alfonso of Naples—Visit of the French ambassadors to Milan—Treasures of the Castello —Jewels of Lodovico Sforza—Isabella of Aragon and her father—An embassy to the French court proposed—Secret instructions of the Count of Caiazzo—Fête at Vigevano—Tournament of Pavia 60 75 [Pg xv] 88 99 112