Allegory of the court of Isabela d´Este, Lorenzo Costa

Allegory of the court of Isabela d´Este, Lorenzo Costa
Allegory of the court of Isabela d´Este, Lorenzo Costa

During the Renaissance era it was very common for noble aristocrats to become increasingly interested in culture and the arts, the ideal of a medieval knight focused solely on the art of war had given way to a new type of knight Valiant in battle yes, but also a cultured humanist devoted to study and the arts. In this sense, a new space dedicated precisely to study appeared in the Renaissance palaces, in which the nobles kept beautiful works of art that invited them to reflection; Many nobles incorporated a studiolo, as it used to be called, into their palatial domains. However, Isabela d´Este was the first woman to own rooms with these characteristics.

The young lady married the Prince of Mantua Francesco Gonzaga when she was only sixteen years old, but the truth is that at that young age, the lady had already been educated for the government and would go down in history as a one of the greatest humanists of all time. In the castle of Mantua, Isabela d'Este had a small space built for her to gather and study, while allowing her to carry out the most intimate gatherings with ease.


Three artists were selected to work in such an important company: Andrea Mantegna, Perugino and Lorenzo Costa. Perhaps the latter is the least known of the three paintersbut the truth is that in his time he received important commissions that he carried out with great mastery. On this occasion we find an oil on canvas in a horizontal format that measures almost two meters wide and almost one hundred and sixty-five centimeters high; it represents a splendid allegory of the court that takes place in a very realistic natural landscape with different levels on the ground that serve to accommodate the different groups.

Actually, each of the groups represents a different story (be it motherhood, love…), some of them have even been taken from Greek mythology but Altogether we can make a fairly easy reading. In this way we observe that while the members of the court remain relaxed and continue with their lives, in the background in the background that can be seen in the left area of ​​the canvas, a battle is being fought.

Popular topic