(active around 1403 in Paris)

Boccaccio: Of Famous Women

Manuscript (Ms. français 12420), 355 x 240 mm (folio size)
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

The Decameron was not the only work that made Boccaccio (1313-1375) famous throughout Europe during his lifetime. He wrote in 1361 a chronological collection of biographies of famous women. In 1401 this treatise was translated into French by an anonymous author. The magnificently illustrated codex presented to Philip the Bold by Jacques Raponde in 1403 (now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) is based on this translation. Most of the illumination were painted by a masterly painter who is known to us as the Master of the Coronation of the Virgin.

Boccaccio's chronological collection of biographies of famous women includes a number of women artists. The miniature on folio 101v depicts Marcia. With the help of an oval hand mirror she is just about to complete her self-portrait, a panel painting. The saint who died around 632, was elected abbess of the convent at Arles at the age of 18.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.