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Caterina Sforza
And Her Magic Potions
This portrait of Caterina Sforza is by artist, Lorenzo di Credi.  

This painting is also known as:
La Dama dei Gelsomini.
(The Lady of the Jasmine).  She is holding jasmine flowers.

Caterina Sforza was born in 1463.  She was the daughter of the Duke of Milan - il Duca di Milano, Galeazzo Maria Sforza.  Her mother was called Lucrezia Landriani.  Below, you can see portraits of her parents, both painted by Piero del Pollaiolo.
When Galeazzo became Duke of Milan in 1466, his children (including Caterina) went to live at the royal court.

Caterina was married three times and had many children.  She was known as la Signora di Forlì e Imola (the Lady of Forlì and Imola) but she also earned the nickname: la Tigre di Forlì (the Tigress of Forlì).  She was famous for her fierce personality - like a female warrior - in her determination to defend her family's property and titles during times of rioting and unrest.

However, she is also very famous for her work as an alchemist.  Rather like a witch, she created magic recipes using herbs and plants.  She experimented with secret potions to cure illnesses and to use as beauty products and health supplements.  She even created an anaesthetic!