Dufresne, Laura Rinaldi Books
Dr. Laura Rinaldi Dufresne holds a Ph.D in Art History from The University of Washington. She is now a Professor in Art History at Winthrop University.2012 0-7734-2627-2
Christine de Pizan was one of the few authors of late medieval France involved with all aspects of her manuscripts’ production. Her work has received enormous scholarly attention as their subject is nothing less than the history and education of women. This book fills a gap in the scholarship by shifting the attention from their literary content to the imagery chosen to illustrate these two pioneering books on women and their worth. This new focus includes artists of Christine’s own choosing to those illustrating The City and The Treasure after her death throughout the peak of the two works’ popularity.
The Social context and iconographic content of the miniatures accompanying these texts provides a broad, often diverse view of the role and image of the fifteenth century woman. In The City, the illustrations often focus on intellectual discussion rather than heroic action of women. In The Treasure, typically the pictures show scenes of stately lectures and well-dressed students, usually nobility, crowded into classroom settings, which illuminates the advances in education for women at that time.
Christine de Pizan was one of the first female novelists in Western society. While much attention has been given to her written words, this book studies the pictures in her texts. In showing the messages embedded in the pictures, the author shows that during the Renaissance status was depicted in highly visual ways. Women were allowed to hold positions of status, but this was often indicated by the way they dressed. This book gives us an important analysis of race, gender, and class during the 15th century.