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When the Mantuan stable master tried to prevent her horses from participating Isabella wrote angrily to Francesco asking whether he had authorised the scratching of her horses.
Duke Alfonso d'Este II had tried to block the Mantuan performances planned in the early 1590s by various means, after the failure to stage the play in Ferrara (1584-85).
How could pastoral drama be used to project the ideals and aspirations of the Mantuan courtly elite onto its intended audience, given contemporary concerns about the critical and moral status of the genre?
For the attempted Mantuan productions of the play in 1592-3, the choreography was worked out by Leone de' Sommi and Guarini, with the involvement of the Jewish court dancing master and musician Isacchino Massarano, and music was commissioned by Jacques de Wert and Francesco Rovigo.
From the early sixteenth century until 1630, Mantuan Jews from the universita israelitica were regularly called upon to perform and fund the staging of comedies for the court.
Significantly, perhaps, Guarini's Idropica was performed by the professional Fedeli company during the next round of high-profile Mantuan festivities in 1608.
Most evidently, the play's spectacular staging allowed the Duke to present the Mantuan court's cultural prestige and his own princely virtues of magnificence and liberality to the international audience present (and further afield by means of the written accounts).
While it had previously been staged mainly in small-scale, private courtly entertainments (though occasionally also for political occasions, especially associated with the Estense dynasty), the 1598 Mantuan performances of the Pastor fido gave the genre a central role in princely festivities, and unequivocally changed its status.
Due to Vasari's misconception about Diana's relationship to Giorgio Ghisi, who became the most well-known of the sixteenth-century Mantuan engravers, Diana was called "Diana Ghisi" in the eighteenth century.
Mantuan audiences would have recognized the anatomy of an Ionic volute as emblematic of Mantuan architectural genius at the most intellectual level.
Diana came to Rome with another more direct and immediately useful literary reference from the Mantuan court.
Diana's father was spoken of highly by other artists as well as by Mantuan intellectuals like Arrivabene.
Granvelle seems to have found nothing offensive about the incident and went on to order more drawn copies of Mantuan sculptures and drawings.
He was concerned about his son's career and was eager, through his relatively autonomous enterprise of engraving, to make connections that would work to Adamo's advantage in the future and provide opportunity beyond the immediate prospects of the Mantuan court.
The Volterran designer had been brought to Guastalla (one of the satellite dukedoms of the Mantuan court) by Cesare Gonzaga in the mid 1560s, where he earned a yearly salary as appointed architect-designer-engineer for the Gonzaga-ruled city and the court.
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