2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

In the Mood: Birth, Expectation, and Visual Culture in Fifteenth-Century Florence
Katharyn A. Reed
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Faculty Mentor

The culture of fifteenth-century Florence placed heavy emphasis on having children. The city needed a population boost, husbands desired heirs, and women absorbed these expectations. Domestic visual culture of this period displays the pressure put on women to fulfill these needs. Painted marriage chests were given to new brides and served as one way images encouraging consummation and pregnancy were transmitted. Generic depictions of nudity on panels of these chests alluded to the new roles brides acquired in their marriages and in society as a whole. Representations of naked children suggested to women the essential goals of their marriages and images of reclining nudes were used to put women ‘in the mood’ to eventually reach these goals. This paper examines the culture of fifteenth-century Florence with respect to the importance of birth and children and will explore two case studies of nude figures appearing on marriage chests.

Keywords: Florence, Nudity, Visual Culture, Children

Topic(s):Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 20-2
Location: OP 2210
Time: 10:00 am

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