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  About IDEA 

IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive is an open-access, not-for-profit education and research environment. An exercise in imagination, discovery, and critical engagement, IDEA is designed for scholars, students, and inquisitive explorers. Except where otherwise indicated, IDEA is governed by a Creative Commons CCBYNC license. 

Taking as our inspiration and focus one of the most influential figures of the Italian Renaissance, Isabella d’Este (1474-1539), IDEA offers users around the world new ways to encounter the history and culture of early modern Italy. IDEA’s primary materials are Isabella’s letters, art collections, ceramics, and fashion as they evolved during her reign as the marchesa of Mantua. These resources map a world where politics, art, music, family life, business, and social relations often intertwined.

IDEA extends beyond the critical functions of collections preservation and access to emphasize:


Conceiving of knowledge as a fluid science, we seek to inspire new scholarship and imaginative critical pathways through an ever-changing world of learning.



Linking researchers and students with historical materials and with each other, IDEA bridges geographical distances and economic barriers to research. 


Enabling users to cross-reference data between written and visual media, IDEA employs powerful search engines that are intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners.


Providing virtual spaces for collaboration and creation, IDEA promotes broad changes in the traditionally solitary nature of scholarly study, as well as innovative technologies for working with manuscript sources and museums and for understanding early modern societies, economies, and visual arts.


Augmented Experience 

Utilizing both virtual simulation and immersive virtual reality,  IDEA is developing rich user experiences for exploring historical spaces, objects, and media that bring us closer to evidence of the historical past.

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