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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Este, Ercole I d’

Marchese of Este, 2nd Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio

(b Ferrara, 26 Oct 1431; reg 1471–1505; d Ferrara, 25 Jan 1505).

Son of Niccolò III d’Este. From 1445 to 1463 he served as Lieutenant-General under three successive rulers of Naples: Alfonso, Ferdinand and John of Anjou. Borso d’Este recalled him to Ferrara to assist in governing the Este territories and made him ruler of Modena. He was a shrewd and effective statesman, and his experience of the Neapolitan court had influenced his vision of his role and power. He was also compelled by virtue of his position to maintain a grand public image. To this end he held lavish parties and ceremonies and was a generous patron—of the theatre, of literature, music (Josquin Desprez wrote two masses for him), and of the visual arts.

Gordon Marshall Beamish