Renaissance women by Veronica Franco
The Life and Work of Veronica Franco
Veronica Franco was born in the town of Venice; she descended from a family who had been the native-born citizens having some hereditary rights. Franco was an only daughter amongst three sons; the intellectual life of this woman began by the time she was sharing her brothers education by the private tutors. In 1570, she got involved with Domenico’s known salon that was also located in Venice. She lived her life as a courtesan; she used to play music and was well versed in the ancient Greece and Rome’s literature and even that of the present. She also has to meet with great thinkers, artists, politicians and even some poets that had shown monumental work in the society at that time (Rosenthal, Pp. 23-28). Because of the poems that she wrote during her time she was well advertised and was raised better above the less educated women that were in the society who were merely involved in selling sex to others as such. The engagement that she had with the male patrons was dramatized in the Capitol as she had always addressed most of the poems to a different man for whom she always requested a response as well. Franco is one lady that is known for being so openly erotic; she was also said to be explicit sexually from her first poem. She got also to celebrate her sexual professionalism as a courtesan and gets to promise that she will satisfy the desires of her interlocutor.
She was so frank in speech and majority of the situations; she also takes to dramatize and challenge the idealization clichés that are in Petrarch’s love for poetry. In most of the poems that she writes, she is seen to be undermining the traditional perception of the women as silent, distant, cruel and even unattainable woman. This is simply a show of pride that she is trying to make sure that she meets in her poems and letters; she would like the society to understand that women cannot be belittled anymore as if it has always been. To her, it is a time that the society needs to know that the ladies are a very vital part that can lead to better development and even faster development of the same society.
She had always insisted on having engagements and dialogues, and this had been shown in Capitolo 13 and 16, which have been indicated to be combative and polemical. In her Capitol 16 she gets to come out with a ferocious and logical response to three of the obscene poems that had been written against her through the Venetian dialect by Maffio Venier. In this poem, she makes sure that she gets to defend herself against the attempt by Maffio’s to humiliate her in the public as such. She had made sure that she gets to protect all the women in general against the male attackers in the society (Rosenthal, Pp. 78). In her works, capitol 3, 17 and 20, she echoes the rhetoric, figures of speech and the themes of the Latin elegists and Catullus. She puts her message in the voice of a woman regarding the destructive powers of jealousy plus the frustrations that do come from the enforced exiles. She is a woman with a high spirit; she had made sure that she just does not keep quiet about the offenses and issues that are committed against her; she pronounces all the issues that she feels will be of immense importance to the women.
In 1580, Franco got to publish her poem/ letter that she had titled as “Familiar Letters to Various People.” This letter comprised of 50 letters plus two sonnets; she had addressed them to King Henry III of France; the king had just visited her six years ago. Among all these letters, only one that bore the name of the recipient; she had wanted it all to remain a mystery. These letters had depicted her in some the daily activities such as playing music, organization of a dinner party among many more other activities as well. All these had been just inspired by the very ancient authors especially Cicero and Seneca (Rosenthal, Pp. 67-79). These genres of epistles allowed Franco to be able to position herself as one person who is a judge and a stoic advisor. In the same year, she was brought to trial by the government; Rodolfo’s sons’ tutor accused her of having practiced wonderful works in her home had accused her. She got to gather her defense plus the help of Venier, which freed her from the said charges before the courts of law. Later on while in Venice at the age of 45, she died as a poor lady. She had lost her reputation immensely due to the trial that was against her; the society would no longer hold her high and, therefore, lacked a market leading her into absolute poverty in totality.
How women have been represented in the visual works of Renaissance artists
Some of the Renaissance artists made sure that they did have a representation for the women. Different actions had very different images.
Christine de Pisan: Book of the city of the ladies- This is one book that had shown so much regarding the position of women in the society and how they are to be viewed from time to time too. In this piece of work, the author developed a very comprehensive and categorical framework of the position of women and their functions that were found in the society at that time. There had already been some early Dutch, German and Spanish philosophers that had already laid the ground for the work to start. They were of the opinion that most of the women were not well appreciated by the society and that the time was ripe for the women in the society to be more appreciated. This artist that women are also human beings and that there is a need to make sure that they get to be well appreciated as compared to just having them there operating like machines. It will never be fair at all for anyone to think that they will just naturally diminish the women and believe that the society will shut up about it. She brought up the idea of the women being proud to stand up and fight against such a trend of confusion as such. At the time, there was an immense growth regarding the appreciation of the women in the society considering the fact that such a woman existed in the society; a woman who wrote in her book about the need for women to be promoted and the importance of the women in the society as well. This one organization was more interested in making sure that the women always remain at the bottom but then the women were not going to let this be possible. Such a woman wanted a society to be subject to change; she felt that it was high time that the law changes completely to appreciate and integrate women too.
Sandro Botticelli’s (1445–1510) painting of The Birth of Venus: This picture was trying to show the concept of eroticism that only refers to the sublimation and the stylization of the notions of sexual desire. This is a concept that would always try to make sure that it protects the nudity and sexual attraction of the women. This piece of art was merely attempting to depict the ladies as one group of people that are always ready to showcase their inner body parts just for the sake of society appreciation. The maker can be said to have had a perception that the women are nothing more than property; a tool that is directly outstanding in trying to satisfy the desires of the men in the society. In the traditional society, the major themes that were associated with gender themes had been issues of sexuality and nudity of women in the society. These two are the primary aspects that are found in gender topics in the Renaissance and Baroque visual art. Sandro’s painting had been that of a nude woman trying to show that she was all ripe for the acts of sexuality. To such artists, they are of the belief that the women are not better in anything other than in sexual satisfaction of them men in the same society. Erotic female representation is a significant discussion in this artist’s piece of work; this era is the same one that got to see the upcoming of the female patronages that were seen in art.
Van Dyck’s Venetia Stanley, Lady Digby, as Prudence, 1633
The Seventeenth Century Dutch portrait of women got to express the newest trend that was there regarding the gender identity. To him, the men and women were never represented as any symbol but rather in a more realistic manner as such. He was of the view that he women should not be used as any form of a symbol but rather each woman should only represent the ideologies of her own and not that one of a specified group as such. The piece of art was to show merely a neutral ground for both men and women regarding the few issues that women had been accused of in the past. He does not support the thought that women are simply property that can just be used in a manner that any man would prefer. He expects that all the women will be respected and that a character of one member would not be treated as the general conduct of all. It would have been so unfair to try and use the character of one person to generalize and assume that it is just the general habit as well. Sexuality at the time was concealed in a suitable format; at least this one would work for them in the end considering the drive to try and make sure that all the women are treated in an upright manner. His piece of art was all trying to represent the women as better figures; it attempted to show that indeed women are not just tradable commodities that can be treated as one would wish to do as well. He tries to appeal to the protection of the dignity of the women and feels that it will be quite unfair for anyone to attempt to showcase women as good parties when that is not the situation at hand. They are also people that expect to be respected by the whole society just as the men have been recognized all along.
How the women are represented in art, relate to Franco’s life
How the society has been treating the women in the arts relates to the manner in which Franco had also lived his life as well (Rosenthal, Pp. 12-34). They were all punished for the reason that they are women; the fact that they were women in the society is the primary reason as to why they are treated in the manner in which they are. Just like in Franco’s life, the pieces of art have depicted women to have been treated as tools and also a group that is not useful at all. This is the same thing that Franco had been against all through in her pieces of art. She had tried to make sure that the society appreciates the women and the role that they also play in the same. She tries to show the community that indeed what she is experiencing is not true; all her time she invests in defending the women in the general society. She takes an enormous portion of her life to try and make sure that women are no longer despised at all.
Rosenthal, Margaret F. The honest courtesan: Veronica Franco, citizen and writer in sixteenth-century Venice. University of Chicago Press, 2012.