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Humanities 2016, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/h5010006

Imagining and Reimagining Gender: Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia and Its Renaissance Visual Legacy

James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
Academic Editor: Patricia Emison
Received: 6 November 2015 / Revised: 31 December 2015 / Accepted: 3 January 2016 / Published: 15 January 2016
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Abstract

Giovanni Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia (1339–1341?) is an innovative vernacular text in which Teseo (Theseus) and the Scythian Amazons are reinvented as antagonists in a war fought to determine how women are meant to live their lives. Boccaccio’s characterization of these figures and their interactions offer an effective counter-narrative to the prevailing ethos that women’s inborn proclivities and deficiencies preclude, perforce, their participation in the public arena. In the absence of written criticism, cassone (marriage chest) paintings constitute the quattrocento Nachleben of the text, whose readership comprised a wide swath of the literate populace through the 15th century. I will argue that painters, in conjunction with their patrons and humanist advisors, fashioned Teseida visual narratives that undermined Boccaccio’s vision of the potential of women to productively and autonomously engage in the governance of successful societies. View Full-Text
Keywords: Boccaccio; Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia; cassoni; Italian Renaissance painting Boccaccio; Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia; cassoni; Italian Renaissance painting
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Franklin, M. Imagining and Reimagining Gender: Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia and Its Renaissance Visual Legacy. Humanities 2016, 5, 6.

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