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The illegitimate daughter of a minor noble, after losing her husband, she became one of the most powerful and fierce women in Italy – commanding troops, insulting Machiavelli, and fighting Cesare Borgia with unmatched ferocity.
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Caterina is seen here on top of Ravaldino, doing her infamous (and likely made-up) “skirt flip” at the parlay party below.
In green and facepalming is Cesare Borgia. The reactions of the men on either side of him are laughter and delight. The reactions of Caterina’s family — all on their knees as hostages ranges from laughter, to confusion, to shielding the eyes of young ones.
Behind Caterina, casting shadows into frame, are her guards. And lastly, she has a cannon pointed at them – period accurate, of course.
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One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law and in her powerful, grotesque, incredibly popular paintings that depicted his gruesome death.
Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in the process.