Lucrezia Borgia

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Lucrezia Borgia (18 April 1480 – 24 June 1519) was the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, the powerful Renaissance Valencian who later became Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia.[3]

Lucrezia's family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films.

One painting, Portrait of a Youth by Dosso Dossi at the National Gallery of Victoria, was identified as a portrait of Lucrezia in November 2008.[4][5][6][7][8] This painting may be the only surviving formal portrait of Lucrezia Borgia. However, doubts have been cast on that claim.[9] Several other paintings, such as Veneto's fanciful portrait, have also been said to depict her but none have been accepted by scholars at present. She is described as having heavy blonde hair which fell past her knees, a beautiful complexion, hazel eyes which constantly changed colour, a full, high bosom, and a natural grace which made her appear to "walk on air";[10] these were the physical attributes that were highly appreciated in Italy during that period.

Very little fact is known of Lucrezia, and the extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her father and brothers is unclear. They certainly arranged several marriages for her to important or powerful men in order to advance their own political ambitions. Lucrezia was married to Giovanni Sforza (Lord of Pesaro), Alfonso of Aragon (Duke of Bisceglie), and Alfonso I d'Este (Duke of Ferrara). Tradition has it that Alfonso of Aragon was an illegitimate son of the King of Naples and that Cesare may have had him murdered after his political value waned.


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