Olga's Gallery

Giovanni Boccaccio


Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-75), Italian writer and humanist, born into a family of a Florentine merchant. His youth he spent in Naples, where be began his literary studies and wrote his first works. In 1340 he returned to Florence. Municipality of Florence employed him for different diplomatic missions. His main literary work is Decameron.
See: Andrea del Castagno. Giovanni Boccaccio.

The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti is a novella from Decameron, it tells the story of the young Nastagio from Ravenna, who cunningly uses a horrific event in order to persuade his beloved to marry him.
See: The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti in  4 frescos by Botticelli:
1. The Encounter with the Damned in the Pine Forest. Nastagio, rejected by the lady he admires, retires in the pine forest. There he suddenly comes upon a knight on horseback who is hunting a naked woman with his hounds. Nastagio seizes a branch in order to protect the defenseless woman.
2. The Infernal Hunt. Nastagio watches with dismay as the knight tears out the woman's heart and entrails and feeds them to his dogs. Then the armed rider is once again hounding his victim along the shores of the ocean. The chase is hell's punishment for the hunter, whose despairing love caused him to commit suicide, and for the naked woman, who was cruel to her lover; it is a punishment that will be repeated eternally.
3. The Banquet in the Pine Forest. Nastagio made up a cunning plan. He has invited guests to the pine forest in order to show them the horrible chase. The woman he desires, wearing the white dress, has always rejected his advances but now watches the events in dismay. As she is afraid of suffering a similar fate, she sends a servant to Nastagio, as we can see in a second scene on the right, and agrees to become his wife.
4. The Wedding Banquet. Nastagio's wedding is celebrated on a splendid scale under a monumental loggia. The coats of arms suggest that the cycle of painting was commissioned on the occasion of a wedding in Florence between the Pucci and Binni families.

Sigismonda from Decameron is the daughter of Tancred, Prince of Salerno. Her father, having discovered her love to his squire Guiscardo, slew the latter and sent his head in a golden cup to Sigismonda. She took poison and died. The father, repenting his cruelty, ordered the pair to be buried in the same tomb.
See: William Hogarth Sigismonda.

Cymon and Iphigenia is from Decameron. Cymon, the son of a nobleman of Cyprus, a handsome, though coarse and  unlettered, youth, fell in love with the girl Iphigenia. The love made him a miracle; he was turned into an accomplished and polished courtier.
See: Sir John Everett Millais Cymon and Iphigenia.
Sir Joshua Reynolds. Cimon and Iphigenia.

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