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Probing the role of culture in state craft, Alice Jarrard focuses on the ambitious Italian patron, Duke Francesco d'Este of Modena. The Duke deployed art works for his exiled family by drawing from vital Italian court traditions. He imported opera theater designs from Venice and called on famed Roman artists to create portraits and palaces. Demonstrating how performance brought paintings, sculptures, and buildings to life, Jarrard reveals the dynamic role of art in seventeenth-century political discourse.