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Isabella d'Este differed from Lucrezia Borgia in that she broke down the barriers to power and influence by virtue of her own independent spirit, strength, and talent. One is led to believe by accounts of her character that she needed the approval of no man to live in the style that she chose. Isabella was remarkable in that she was one of few women who expressed themselves in the arts to any extent, and, even more so, in that she in effect became the first female head of an Italian city state after her husband was captured in war. Isabella gladly assumed the role of devoted wife, but did not allow that role to restrict the realm in which she held influence, proving herself capable in many fields. Isabella stands out as one of the only strong female representatives of the spirit of humanism.
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