Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 12135
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Randolph , Adrian W. B.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Performing the Bridal Body in Fifteenth-Century Florence
  • Source: Art History 21, 2 (June 1998): Pages 182 - 200.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Body Brides Elite Women Florence Jewelry Marriage Women in Art
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Seven Figures. Figure One Pendant, fifteenth century Florentine. (Private Collection). Figure Two Detail of the "Primavera," c. 1482. (Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi). Figure Three Filippo Lippi, "Portrait of a Man and a Woman at a Casement," c. 1436 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). The woman displays a shoulder brooch. Figure Four Piero di Cosimo, "Madonna and Child with Saints Peter, Rosa da Viterbo, Catherine of Alexandria, and John the Evangelist," c. 1493 (Florence, Ospedale degli Innocenti). St Catherine wears an elaborate shoulder brooch and a brooch in her hair. Figure Five Domenico Ghirlandaio, "Giovanna deli Albizzi Tornabuoni, " c. 1488 (Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza). The brooch is displayed on a shelf behind the sitter. Figure Six. Sebastiano Mainardi "Portrait of a Woman, " c. 1500 (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen). An elaborate brooch is displayed on a shelf behind the woman. Figure Seven Sebastiano Mainardi, "Portrait of a Man, " c.1500 (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen).
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Culture constructs stages for the perfomance of the body. One of the ways in which those stages are erected is through somatic ornamentation. This essay focuses on the extraordinarily expensive and elaborate jewels bestowed upon brides in fifteenth-century Florence. Adducting family record books, sumptuary legislation, as well as religious and secular symbolic attitudes toward body decoration, this study documents how jewels functioned in the economic and symbolic exchanges then constituting marriage. Moreover, it links the jewels to those seen in a broad variety of visual arts. Seen not only as supplemental decoration, marital jewels are construed as beacons defining the limits of the performed bridal body. [Reproduced by permission of Blackwell Publishers.]
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01416790
  • Material/Technique :
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