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Oh, Those Ladies of the Renaissance

Women on the Margins
The ‘beloved’ and the ‘mistress’ in Renaissance Florence
By Dr. Catherine Lawless
Three Monkeys
January 2008

“This article will discuss women who found themselves in irregular relationships in late medieval and Renaissance Florence. It will look both at women who were idealised as love objects and women who were in fact involved in pre- or extra- marital sexual relationships. Numerous histories of women have been written in the last thirty years or more. Social history has examined the roles of women in the family, the convent, in urban trades and as peasants. Woman as wife, mother, homemaker has been studied with regard to the formation of early modern ideology of the state, where the home or family can be seen as a microcosm of the state. Historians of art and literature have shown how images were gendered and also how male artists/writers mediated female forms or types…”

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