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The symbolism of these ravishing paintings is not straightforward, as the identity of the women portrayed continues to be debated: are they courtesans, brides, or idealized beauties?
The extraordinarily evocative representations of Venus by Titian and other Venetians launch us into a new era of paintings that treat subjects related to love and marriage.
Bailey observes that by the 1930s and '40s, with the advent of the "date" (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.
Keeping company in the family parlor was replaced by dining and dancing, movies, and "parking." A second cultural force that influenced the older courtship system was the rise of "public advice" literature as well as the rise of an "expert" class of advisers — psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, etc.
From Cassone to Poesia: Paintings of Love and Marriage will shift the focus to nuptial portraits and paintings on themes of love that decorated bedchambers and private quarters.
Highly important and intriguing portraits—including double portraits commemorating marriage, rare portraits of babies, fathers with their children, and widows—by such painters as Fra Filippo Lippi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Lorenzo Lotto will be on display, and the poetic genius of the Renaissance will be represented by some of the most beguiling and sensual works by Titian, Palma il Vecchio, Tintoretto, and their contemporaries.
It will include marriage portraits and paintings that extol sensual love and fertility, exquisite examples of jewelry and maiolica (tin-glazed ceramic) given as gifts to couples, and some of the rarest and most significant pieces of Renaissance glassware, cassone panels, birth trays, and drawings and prints of amorous subjects. The first, Celebrating Betrothal, Marriage, and Childbirth, will feature splendid wedding gifts.
Like contemporary poems and prose by writers beginning with Petrarch, these mythological and allegorical paintings thus evoked the poetic language of love. It's one of those words with which most people are familiar, but have vastly differing opinions of what it means. It summons visions of men women with small tokens of affection and asking their hand in marriage on bended knee.For social scientists, studies of courtship usually look at the process of "mate selection." (Social scientists, among whom I number myself from time to time, will never be accused of being romantics.) For the purpose of this article the , prior to the early 20th century, courtship involved one man and one woman spending intentional time together to get to know each other with the expressed purpose of evaluating the other as a potential husband or wife.Marked with heraldic devices, childbirth trays and bowls were prized possessions in many households and handed down from generation to generation.The section Profane Love will focus on erotic, at times salacious, imagery treated in drawings, prints, and other objects created by some of the most celebrated artists of the time, including Parmigianino and Giulio Romano.