During the renaissance period in Europe, when artists weren’t painting scenes from the Bible commissioned by the church, they were likely painting portraits of the rich and famous.
Among the rich and famous at the time was the Borgia family whose numerous intrigues, rumors of incest, murder and orgiastic engagements made for great story telling in 15th century Valencia.
Often the future Pope Alexander VI’s daughter (and lover) Lucrezia was the center of attention. She was by all accounts a captivating young woman, betrothed twice before her teen years and otherwise regularly used to further the political ambitions of the family.
But Lucrezia wasn’t simply a pawn in the Borgia’s game of political domination. She was a true Renaissance woman, well educated, fluent in a number of languages including Latin and Greek. She was politically astute and well-spoken at court where she cultivated friendships with leading artists, courtiers and poets of the day turning Ferrara into a center for the arts.
When one’s flame burns strong it’s often short-lived and such was the case for Lucrezia. She wound up submersing herself in religion and dying at the age of 39.
I wonder where someone like Lucrezia would fit into the contemporary social milieu. Would she contribute a strong and articulate female voice to the world dialogue regarding politics, feminism and the arts only to burnout in the futility of the endeavor, find religion and end up probably not being an asset to the abbey?
Whatever happened she would most certainly become a media favorite adored by the left and abhorred by the right.