The Broken Exemplary Mirror: The First Italian War in Ferraiolo’s Cronaca figurata napoletana
Although the first Italian War involved France, Naples, part of the Italian peninsula and of Spain, it was represented in a very limited iconography. The Cronaca figurata napoletana remains its only visual testimony. Even if craft and composition are modest, its images provide an unprecedented point of view on the fights. Taking side with the Aragonese, its drawer caricatures Charles VIII and proposes a new vision of the war without heroic chiefs, just as in the Neapolitan Kingdom, where in a few years several kings succeeded one another. The way the soldiers’ strength is emphasized, the myth-making of Aragonese history, and the creation of an urban topos with the view of Castelnuovo (a metonymy for the kingdom), are all significant factors that turn these drawings into a full-fledged history lesson, rather than a mere illustration of the war’s chronicle.