Alejandro De Renzis
Professor Krista Miranda
Ghismonda With The Heart Of Guiscardo
The “Ghismonda with the Heart of Guiscardo” was painted by Francesco Ubertini Bacchiacca in the 1520’s, and it is an oil on wood painting that hangs at the Lowe Museum at the University of Miami. The painting displays Ghismonda holding a chalice with the heart of her lover, in the center of the room on a bed. A few women surround her, and a man sits in what appears to be distress directly in front of her. The landscape visible through the small windows shows a dark and gloomy sky. The painting is circular and the figures seem to be almost three-dimensional. During the late renaissance the painting of non-religious scenes became more popular as humanist ideals began to spread. Amongst many popular literary works of Boccaccio’s “Decameron” was the story of Ghismonda, which is what the painting is based on. She was the daughter of a famous prince named Tancredi who was known for his kindness and compassion. He was overcome with such sadness and anguish when he discovered his daughter had taken on a lover that he ordered the man captured, killed, and his heart ripped out of his body. Tancredi then presented the heart of Ghismonda's lover in a golden chalice. She then put poison inside the cup and drank from it to end her own life. Because Ghismonda lies in the center holding the golden chalice with Guiscardo's heart, it appears she is the central protagonist. Her servants and maids judge her and keep her restricted to her gender roles as decided by representations of society at the time-- a male dominated society where women were presumed to follow the rules or they would be judged, punished, and ignored. Women were expected to rarely leave their households and only conduct their household duties, especially women of the noble classes like Ghismonda. Her servants and maids surrounding her represent this oppression. I believe the sickly and...
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