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Giulia Bonali

MA work

Dissertation: Widowhood in Renaissance Florence

The widow was an important social figure in Italy during the sixteenth century, who was both vulnerable and resourceful. Widowhood could be subjectively experienced in different ways, depending on a wide range of variables such as social status, economic necessity and juridical boundaries.

In my dissertation, I examine the ideal picture of the widow which emerges from the Italian prescriptive literature between the fifteenth and sixteenth century in relation to what can be gleaned from contemporaries' letters written by Tuscan women.

Through an analysis of material culture, I investigate the situation of the Florentine noblewoman Camilla Magalotti, who became widow in 1600. Looking at the household inventory taken after her husband's death as well as her account book, I interpret her accumulation and disposal in order to gain an insight into her everyday life. In addition, a comparison between two household inventories shows how in widowhood material circumstances were often modified in ways that either compromised or improved status and lifestyle.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2008

  • Dissertation: Widowhood in Renaissance Florence

    The widow was an important social figure in Italy during the sixteenth century, who was both vulnerable and resourceful. Widowhood could be subjectively experienced in different ways, depending on a wide range of variables such as social status, economic necessity and juridical boundaries.

    In my dissertation, I examine the ideal picture of the widow which emerges from the Italian prescriptive literature between the fifteenth and sixteenth century in relation to what can be gleaned from contemporaries' letters written by Tuscan women.

    Through an analysis of material culture, I investigate the situation of the Florentine noblewoman Camilla Magalotti, who became widow in 1600. Looking at the household inventory taken after her husband's death as well as her account book, I interpret her accumulation and disposal in order to gain an insight into her everyday life. In addition, a comparison between two household inventories shows how in widowhood material circumstances were often modified in ways that either compromised or improved status and lifestyle.

  • Degrees

  • BA Modern Arts, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy, 2004
  • Experience

  • Voluntary Researcher, Courtauld Institute, London, 2005-6