Botticelli and Workshop
First Episodes in the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti

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Sandro Botticelli, First Episodes in the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti



83 X 138 cm

Madrid, Museo del Prado

First Episode in the Tale of Nastagio degli Onesti

Botticelli painted this series of four scenes after he returned form working on the Sistine Chapel. These works are said to have Botticelli as the overseer, but much of the work was done by those who were employed in his workshop. There are specific style differences in theses paintings due to the workshop collaboration, but Botticelli’s personal style is still evident in each painting.

The purpose of the series was to celebrate the marriage of the Pucci and Bini families. The paintings were displayed in the bedroom of the newlyweds. These works gave much insight into the beliefs about gender roles that were evident during the late 1400’s.

The idea for this series of paintings was taken form the novella Boccaccio wrote. The story begins with Nastagio who was an attractive wealthy young man. He fell in love with a woman, who remains nameless, that was from a more prominent family than himself. This woman did not return Nastagio’s love and hardened her heart against him. Nastagio was so devastated by the continual rejection of his love that he tried to escape his feelings by spending money and living recklessly. The more he tried to forget her, the stronger his love became. Finally, he left his entourage, or group of friends, and wanted to spend time alone in the woods. While pining away for his love, he came upon a scene which is depicted in the first painting. A nearly naked woman is running from an assailant who is carrying a sword. A dog had already caught up to her and is bringing her down. Then Nastagio grabs a branch and tried to defend the young woman. There is a strong emphasis on physical appearance in the painting. Nastagio is wearing tight fitting red hose that shows off his physique along with the nearly naked women who only keeps her modesty in check by the flowing cloth.





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