Ghirlandaio painting is the image of Giovanni Degli Ablizzi Tornabouni, which depicts an early renaissance culture that reveals the nature of life in the fifteenth century in Florentine, Italy. The portrait was meant to commemorate Lorenzo’s wife Giovanna after he was grief stricken when his wife died while pregnant with their second child (Washington state university 617).
Leon Battista Alberti, who was one of the renaissance theorists said that young women should have self restraint and a grave demeanor, and the painting depicts this by having the portrait in an upright position and the gaze averted, the young women were to be seen as saints (Cadogan & Domenico 14). In addition to this, it can also be said that this was the preferred pose as seen in traditional Roman medallions and coins. There is an inscription by a poet known as Martial found on the cartouche included in the portrait that says, “if only art could reproduce the character and spirit in the entire world, a more beautiful painting would not be found.” This statement has dual meanings: firstly, to exalt the work of art on the painting, and secondly, to depict the virtues that Giovanna had during her lifetime.
Under an x-ray, the portrait shows luminosity and the gown she is wearing, it is made of gold brocade with tight sleeves with slits made of silk - a clear depiction of one of the Florentine cultures (Renaissance studies 643). This also shows the social status of the family she comes from the Tarbanouni who were very rich and politically famous. She wears exquisite jewellery, a large ruby in a gold setting with three glowing pearls, behind her, there is also an elegant rosary made of corals. This is also significant in the Florentine culture in the fifteenth century, when gold and pearls were seen as precious.
The setting of the portrait is such that it is in a black background and a niche of varied objects, which refer to Giovanni’s fine tastes and superb character. The brooch looks like a rosary and this was meant to show that she had a piety and spiritual life, which in that time, in Florentine was seen a great virtue especially of a woman (Passavant 45). Her forehead is clearly shaved, a famous fashion technique to make her ace look longer, a famous form of culture in Florentine in the fifteenth century. Other features in the portrait that depicted beauty in that time include a long neck, large eyes, ample bosom and blonde hair.
From the above explanations, we can say a few things about Florentine city at that time one of them being that women of that time were to be seen as humble, respectful and were not to be heard as seen in the averted posture of the portrait (Passavant 45). The women to be termed as virtuous were to be good churchgoers and prayerful as seen from the rosary in the portrait. They were seen as not so important, as history has it that there were no female paintings before this one.
We can also say that social status was deemed very important to the extent of it being shown in a simple painting. Gold, pearls and corals were some of the items supposed to show wealth as Giovanni, who comes from a wealthy family, is wearing all of them. Beauty was paramount factor in a woman being chosen as a marriage partner, and she had to have a long face, long neck, blonde hair and an ample bosom. With a lot of conviction, I would say that Lorenzo made this painting of his wife hoping that someday it would be seen in generations to come. He wanted us to see his wife as a virtuous, humble, prayerful woman who was an epitome of the perfect wife and mother.