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Title:Virtuous love: messages for brides and grooms in the fifteenth-century "Otto Prints"
Author(s):Marker, Sara
Advisor(s):Wood, Jeryldene M.
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Art History
Fifteenth Century
Gender Studies
Abstract:A series of forty-two circular and oval engravings dating from 1465 to 1475 depict playful scenes of lovers, putti, and exemplary women. These engravings, known to scholars as the “Otto prints,” were likely pasted onto small boxes called forzierini, which were presented to women after their betrothal by their future groom. The goal of this thesis is to place the “Otto prints” within the extensive network of fifteenth-century marriage art by comparing the style and content of the engravings to other objects exchanged during the betrothal period. The engravings display subject matter and inscriptions that can be found on cassoni, mirrors, maiolica dishes, and boxes produced during the same time period. The “Otto prints,” like these other objects, contain messages for the bride and groom encouraging virtuous and gender-specific behavior. Many of the engravings encourage chastity, especially for the bride, and discourage lust outside of the marital union. Three subjects found on six of the “Otto prints” will be examined in detail, Judith and Holofernes, the punishment of Eros, and a woman stealing her lover’s heart. Each of these subjects represents a variation of the Wiebermacht; that is, the theme of the power of women over men. This thesis examines the ways in which the artist uses these subjects to educate the bride and groom on their roles within their union.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Sara Marker
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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