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In addition to funding the arts, Isabella herself was also a skilled poet, writer, singer, dancer, painter, debater, and musician.
Isabella also invited figures like Ludovico Ariosto and Baldassare Castiglione into her court, who made it world renowned as a "model of good taste and proper decorum" (Streisguth).
"Above all else he took care to fill his household with very noble and valiant gentlemen" (Castiglione).
After her husband's capture during a military campaign against the French in 1509, Isabella began to rule Mantua independently.
Following her husband's death from syphilis in 1512, Isabella ruled as regent to her son Frederico II Gonzaga, who was only 12 years old at the time.
During her reign as marchesa, she was noted for her "diplomacy, justice, tenacity, and wit in the exercise of her authority" ("Isabella d'Este") in Mantua.
In 1539, Isabella died at the age of 64, leaving behind a legacy of greatness for Mantua during her reign.
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