The Portraiture of Women During the Renaissance Essay

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This essay will discuss how women were represented in the portraiture during the Renaissance period. It will explain how the women’s body was pictured in portraiture as; marriage celebrant, husbands beloved, figures of fertility, mothers, display of wealth, paragons of virtues, husband’s passive representative, indication of fashion and more (Brown, 2003). Next, it will include analysis from the two female portraits of Leonardo de Vinci’s Ginerva de’ Benci and Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady. First, I will explain what portrait means and then represent my own interpretation of Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady by referring to instructional “activity dialog” that details how to analyse the body’s subject in the portrait (Mckennee et al., 1994). Second, I will discuss how the Renaissance ideal perception of the women’s body image was influenced by philosophy of humanism, religious saintly virtues and the poets’ understandings (Haughton, 2004). In short, I will explain how the radical change occurred in the woman’s portraiture in late fifteen-centuries where the traditional profile view was no longer popular and straight frontal presentation was fully practised. To exemplify this transformation, the painting of Leonardo’s Ginerva de’ Benci will be employed as means of analysis as Leonardo was instrumental in this fundamental change in the women’s portraiture (Garrard, 2006). Overall, it is quite astonishing how much constructive interpretation can be derived from one single portrait and these expressions will help me to expand my language and writing skill. I think practising the portrait activity-dialog between the viewer and the portrait’s subject expands the mind to be more creative which in turn initiates the development...

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...ty in Renaissance art. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 3(4), 229-233. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2310.2004.00142.x

Gromling, A. & Lingesleben,T. (1998). Botticelli 1444/45-1510 [Translation from the German; Fiona Hulse] (1st ed.).Koln, Germany: Neue Stalling, Oldenburg.

Long, J.C., (2008). Botticelli’s Birth of Venus as wedding painting. Aurora, The Journal of the History of Art, 9, p.1. ISSN 1527-652X.

McKennee, A., Malone, L., Hazelroth, S., & Kinney, B. (1994). Instructional resources: What is represented in a portrait? Art Education, 47(6), 25-32. Retrieved from

Morrison, B. (2004, June 12). Portraits. The Guardian, p. 16.

Weinberg, G. S., (Jan, 2004). D. G. Rossetti's Ownership of Botticelli's 'Smeralda Brandini.' The Burlington Magazine, 146, No. 1210, pp.20-26. Retrieved from:

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