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Forest Scene from the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti, in Boccaccio's "Decameron"

Davide di Tommaso Bigordi, aka Davide Ghirlandaio

European Art

On View: Beaux-Arts Court, South, 3rd Floor
In Renaissance Italy, idealized paintings of landscapes were defined by single-point perspective, a compositional device that favored a human view of the world over traditional religious formats. Here, Davide Ghirlandaio organizes his painting around a female nude fleeing amid systematically receding trees.

The artist manipulates the Tuscan country-side to create a nearly symmetrical setting for a cautionary tale from Boccaccio’s Decameron (1348–51). The story tells of a reluctant bride who is hunted and slaughtered by the knight she has rejected, and then suffers the same fate each week as a ghost. The painter uses native umbrella pines to frame the characters in this human hunt. The fading blue mountains in the distance reveal the recent innovation of aerial perspective, introduced to Florence
by Leonardo da Vinci.
MEDIUM Tempera on wood panel
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES after 1483
    DIMENSIONS 27 1/2 x 53 in. (69.9 x 134.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Beaux-Arts Court, South, 3rd Floor
    CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund and Carll H. de Silver Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Davide di Tommaso Bigordi, aka Davide Ghirlandaio (Italian, Florentine, 1452-1525). Forest Scene from the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti, in Boccaccio's "Decameron," after 1483. Tempera on wood panel, 27 1/2 x 53 in. (69.9 x 134.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund and Carll H. de Silver Fund, 25.95
    IMAGE overall, 25.95_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    Forest Scene from the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti, in Boccaccios "Decameron"