The women profiled in these chapters come from diverse cultural, social, economic and spiritual backgrounds: from patrician heads of household to widows, from saints to artistic patrons, each of the women featured in this interdisciplinary study offers us fresh insight and a broader perspective on the position and role of female protagonists in the history of early modern Tuscany. Employing a variety of methodological approaches, and aided by new archival material, this volume examines women’s ordinary and extraordinary experiences through their writings, cultural and religious activities, social and political networks, and commercial endeavors. In so doing, the volume raises insightful questions about the scope of women’s accomplishments and provides new direction for the future study of women’s agency and self-fashioning.
Cover illustration: Agnolo Bronzino, Eleonora di Toledo with Her Son Francesco, c. 1550. Pisa, Palazzo Reale (photo: permission granted by the Ministero della Cultura – Direzione Regionale Musei della Toscana – Firenze).