2 to 5pm
Print Techniques versus Female Exemplars: Enea Vico’s Monstrous Women
In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, women occupied a prominent place in books of illustrated biographies—a genre that developed into the biographical encyclopedia. Yet from around the mid-1550s, women’s images disappeared from these volumes: a disappearance that has not been satisfactorily explained, despite its bearing on the gendering of history. Within this context, the paper examines Enea Vico’s anomalous collection of illustrated empresses’ biographies (Venice, 1557), to highlight difficulties in representing history via print portraits and seek to explain women’s elimination from popular histories.
Pro bono malum: Furini, Ariosto, and the Verso of Painting
For the baroque halls of state commissioned by European aristocracy the panegyrical aim of pictorial decorations has never been questioned, but a key monument of Florentine painting challenges this assumption. Francesco Furini’s frescoes of grand-ducal prehistory in the Sala degli Argenti in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence facilitates an “official” interpretation that predictably accommodates the interests of the patron Grand Duke Ferdinando II and a second, which subverts messages of a Medicean golden age. The study considers the painter’s use of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso for this purpose and the historical circumstances that made his paintings possible in the first place.