Saturday, May 21, 2016

Biography - Cecilia Gallerani c 1473-1536

Attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) The Lady with the Ermine thought to be Cecilia Gallerani, 1496

"Cecilia Gallerani was born around 1473. Very beautiful and famously portrayed by Leonardo in Lady with an Ermine, Cecilia kept a literary salon and wrote Latin verse. She was a true daughter of the Renaissance and became prominent at the court of her lover Ludovico Sforza, called 'Il Moro', Duke of Milan. In 1491 however, Ludovico married the very young Beatrice d'Este, the sister of Isabella Gonzaga. In the same year Cecilia gave birth to Ludovico's son." (Servadio, p. 6)

"Strong-willed Beatrice d'Este insisted that her new husband Ludovic Sforza remove his mistress, Cecilia Gallerani, from court in 1491. Ludovic acquiesced to Beatrice's demands, but repaid Cecilia by marrying her to a highly placed noble and by giving the couple a palace. Though Cecilia received excellent retirement benefits from Ludovic, her story indicates that life as a mistress could be a degrading and insecure career." (Williams & Echols, 1994, pp. 90-91)