Saturday, February 11

Maestro delle Storie del Pane - Husband and Wife of the Gozzadini Family c.1495


This portrait and its pendant represent a husband and wife of the Gozzadini family of Bologna; the family's coat of arms appears prominently in both paintings. The inscribed architectural frieze in the background, which runs across both panels, attests to the commemorative function of the portraits: Probably made to celebrate a betrothal or marriage, the portraits contain numerous allusions to love and matrimony, such as the spray of flowers, known as pinks, held by the male sitter, and the fruit (perhaps a quince) held by his wife. The pelican and phoenix at lower left of the male portrait refer respectively to charity and resurrection - Christian virtues here associated with the sacrament of marriage. In the lower right corner of the female portrait are two rabbits and a girl confronting a unicorn, the former connoting fecundity and the latter chastity.

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