Professor Diane Ghirardo (University of Southern California) discusses Lucrezia Borgia and Isabella d’Este who were related by marriage but shared little else. Sisters-in-law and spouses of lords of prominent Italian states (Ferrara and Mantua), the two women’s seals incorporated the arms of their natal families and those of their husbands, but the differences in how the two women understood the meanings of their seals and their imprese are remarkable. Their distinctive use of their seals testifies not only to differences in character and personality, but also to the ways they conceived their respective positions in the social and political hierarchy of early sixteenth-century Italy, and the significance of the seals themselves.
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Funding for the CMRS Roundtable series is provided by the Armand Hammer Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.