Historically the women of the Renaissance, like women of the Middle Ages, were denied all political rights and considered legally subject to their husbands. Women of all classes were expected to perform, first and foremost, the duties of housewife. This visual and literary analysis covers Piero Della Francesca’s ‘Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro, duchess and duke of Urbino’ and Baldassare Castiglione exert from ‘The Courtier’. The analysis will address what these works suggest about gender relations in 15th century Italy.
Piero Della Francesca’s piece from 1465 depicts the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, Frederico Da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza from a side on perspective. The artwork itself positions both Frederico and Battista from chest height gazing into one another’s eyes. The serene image of both Frederico and Battista are positioned in the foreground with the background depicting a distant view of the countryside. This technique defines a sense of power to the Duke and Duchess as they appear to be ‘on top of the world’, indicating that they were both powerful people in society. The positioning of Frederico and Battista in this piece are at eye level which generates a sense of equality between them, which does not distinguish one as being more powerful than the other. During this period in the Italian Renaissance Humanism was a popular school of thought with Petrarch largely known as the father of Humanism. Humanism is a perspective common to a wide range of ethical stances that affirms the dignity and worth of all people, attaching importance to human dignity, concerns, and capabilities, particularly rationality. During the Renaissance the arts thrive due to stable times in civilization. With the rise of Humanism during this period which emphasizes dignity and equality the art work presented will depict the change in societies well being and state of mind. Francesca’s piece highlights this positive period in time with the use of...
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