It's a woman's world: A look at the Renaissance - Shawn Carpenter

They were strong, powerful, and bold. These women did not follow the rules when it came to the cultural male dominant standard. They were well educated, cultured, and held leadership positions. These women of the renaissance era helped pave the way for women's rights and they did it in style.

This is a painted portrait of Lucrezia Borgia. She was the Duchess of Ferrara. The subject in this piece was originally thought to of a man figure due to the presence of the dagger in her hands. But with the presence of the flowers on the trees along with the inscription "Brighter is the virtue reigning in this beautiful body" on the paper in front of the subject, authorities have concluded that this could be none other than Lucrezia Borgia herself.
The portrait of Livia Da Portyo Thiene and her daughter Porzia by Paolo Veronese is a late renaissance piece that was originally paired with a portrait of her husband Count Issepo and their son as a family piece. Within the image we can see that women of the renaissance were very well dressed. In addition to the pearls around her neck and the fur lined gown, she is also holding a Marten fur which was believed to protect women in childbirth. In today's society marten furs can fetch several thousands of dollars for one piece.
This is a portrait of Madame Bonnier de la Mosson, painted by Jean-Marc Nattier. In this portrait Madame Bonnier de la Mosson is depicted as Diana, goddess of the moon, the forest, and the hunt. In this age of well known women, Mosson was a member of the Parisian society and owned a very popular literary salon which became a meeting place for some of the most notable people of her time.
Another one of Jean-Marc Nattier's famous portrait paintings is that of Marie Leczinska, who is most notable as being the Queen of France. Leczinska was the daughter of King Stanislas of Poland and wife to Louis the fifteenth of France. In the picture, Leczinska is very well dressed. Sporting a black lace dress and black lace scarf tied with a pink bow.
While "Portrait of a Noblewoman" painted by Lavinia Fontana is not of any one specific woman of notoriety, it does however show off the elegance of the renaissance woman. The subject of this piece is wrapped in a very detailed dress with long sleeves ending with lace cuffs. She is also wearing a floral headpiece. With portraits such as these, it becomes obvious that a woman's appearance was not something that was taken very lightly.
In this portrait we see Elizabeth Moody, first wife of Samuel Moody, and her two sons; Samuel and Thomas. Once again, we see a long, elegant, flowing gown with lots of lace. Through use of x-rays, authorities were able to confirm that the final piece that we see is not the original depiction of Elizabeth Moody. In the Original piece, she was painted without her sons and also playing with a pearl necklace.
The image of Miss Catherine Angelo painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1786. Angelo was the wife of Reverend Mark Drury. Drury's styles of highlighting positive characteristics of his subjects really helps bring out the attitude and pleasantries of Angelo in this piece. The contrast between the backdrop and the subject allow us to see many of the details in her beautiful clothing as well as the strong will and confidence shown on her face.
In this piece we have Queen Caterina Cornaro. In this portrait, we don't see the typical long flowing gowns that have graced the canvas in previous pieces. Other than the elaborate neck piece surrounding the Queen, we see a more plain style of dress. This may be due to her duties as the Queen. Instead of being a ruler, her role was to be that of a moral example to her subjects.
Yet again, we see the name Jean-Marc Nattier. His abilities and styles used to depict the beauty of his subjects and their clothing. This portrait of Madame de la Porte from 1754 is no exception. In addition to the bright fabrics, Nattier also used Madame de la Porte's pale skin to his advantage in order to bring out the contrast of her cheeks and lips.
The subject of this piece by Pontormo is of military wife Maria Salviati de' Medici and relative Giulia de' Medici. In this piece we see Medici depicted with a cold, stern look on her face and dark clothing. This piece was believed to be painted just prior to the death of her husband and still in her morning phase. But despite being dressed in funerary clothing, women were still portrayed as ones to be elegant and revered.
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