Images for the bride: the Chastelaine de Vergi fresco cycle in the Palazzo Davanzati in Florence

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University of Alabama Libraries

This thesis addresses The Chastelaine de Vergi fresco cycle in the Palazzo Davanzati, and how it communicated proper marital behavior expected of a fourteenth-century aristocratic Florentine newlywed bride and wife. In this case, the fresco was commissioned by Tomasso Davizzi upon the event of marriage to the intended viewer, Catalena degli Alberti. By placing the fresco cycle within contemporary Italian Renaissance marital imagery, one can see how the images were meant to display the virtues of chastity, loyalty, and obedience. The story does not provide a strong positive role model for the intended viewer, the bride. The Chastelaine is not married, and she is involved in a secret love affair. However, she is better guided than the Duchess. Therefore, the artist had to utilize contrapposto, or to situate opposites, in order to shape counter-role models for the bride. The Chastelaine was situated as a positive role model and the Duchess as a negative role model in order to communicate the three virtues of chastity, loyalty, and obedience. The result was a fresco cycle that clearly communicated proper marital behavior for the fourteenth-century Florentine aristocratic bride.

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Art history, Art criticism