An assembly of ladies: the fifteenth-century pictorial tradition of Christine de Pizan's La cité des dames and Le trésor de la cité des dames
Christine de Pizan was one of the first vernacular authors to supervise the copying and illustration of her books in the early fifteenth-century. Writing between 1390 and 1429, she produced a vast array of works in verse and prose for members of the French court. This study examines the relationship between text and image in two companion works Christine wrote in 1404-1405 devoted solely to the problems of women: La cite des dames and Le tresor de la cite des dames. The first work is a collection of lives of women who contributed to the development of civilization, the second work is both a mirror for the princess, and a behavioral handbook for women of all classes.The focus of this investigation is the miniatures accompanying these texts produced in the fifteenth-century. Under Christine's direction, from 1404-1425, these manuscripts were richly illustrated with miniatures underscoring the action between Christine, as author-protagonist, and the allegorical and historical figures comprising her City. The second group of miniatures produced between 1425-1465 in France and Flanders shifts the focus from the dramatic action of the women to their courtly loveliness. The third selection of manuscripts dates from the end of the century, and illustrates specific tales and scholarly discussion, returning the focus to Christine and the Virtues as models of creative and constructive action.The continuing popularity of La cite and Le tresor among aristocratic women grants us the opportunity to compare changes in the iconography and style of the miniatures chosen by patron and artist to accompany Christine's visual and verbal message intended for "the world of women, present and future, where ever this book can reach or be seen."$\sp1$ ftn$\sp1$Christine de Pizan, The Treasure of the City of Ladies, trans. by Sarah Lawson, (New York: Penguin Books, 1985) p. 180.
- Art history