The Portraiture Of Women During The Renaissance

1824 words - 7 pages

This essay will discuss how women were represented in the portraiture during the Renaissance period. It will explain how the women’s body was pictured in portraiture as; marriage celebrant, husbands beloved, figures of fertility, mothers, display of wealth, paragons of virtues, husband’s passive representative, indication of fashion and more (Brown, 2003). Next, it will include analysis from the two female portraits of Leonardo de Vinci’s Ginerva de’ Benci and Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady. First, I will explain what portrait means and then represent my own interpretation of Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady by referring to instructional “activity dialog” that details how to analyse the body’s subject in the portrait (Mckennee et al., 1994). Second, I will discuss how the Renaissance ideal perception of the women’s body image was influenced by philosophy of humanism, religious saintly virtues and the poets’ understandings (Haughton, 2004). In short, I will explain how the radical change occurred in the woman’s portraiture in late fifteen-centuries where the traditional profile view was no longer popular and straight frontal presentation was fully practised. To exemplify this transformation, the painting of Leonardo’s Ginerva de’ Benci will be employed as means of analysis as Leonardo was instrumental in this fundamental change in the women’s portraiture (Garrard, 2006). Overall, it is quite astonishing how much constructive interpretation can be derived from one single portrait and these expressions will help me to expand my language and writing skill. I think practising the portrait activity-dialog between the viewer and the portrait’s subject expands the mind to be more creative which in turn initiates the development of the critical thinking.

Portraiture is the work where artist creates an image of individual likeness. Usually the artist is commissioned by patronage or the sitter to paint an image of their physical body appearance with intention to bring out their individuality, what they present and what they value. It also serves as a mnemonical tool of remembering (Morrisson, 2004). Predominantly, portraiture was commissioned by people belonging to higher social rank and individuals who occupied the important role in the society. One of the greatest artists that arise from the Renaissance Italy was Sandro Botticelli, born in 1444 in city of Florence. He was apprenticed by patronage of the very powerful family the Medici, who were rulers of the city and central in the movement of humanism. Humanism brought back to life the classical antiquity of the ancient Greek and Rome. Some of his most famous paintings are; The Birth of Venus and Primavera (Long, 2008). In comparison to his vast art collection, his work in portraiture was very limited and some examples are Portrait of Giuliano de’ Medici 1477, Potrait of a Woman 1475 and Potrait of a Lady 1475, (Gromling & Lingesleben, 1998). In this essay I will analyse the Botticelli’s...

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