2021, (24 x 33,5 cm), 376 pp. English / Italian text, 775 illustrations, hardcover.
Decorated with historical figures in pastiglia, these boxes originated within the culture of the Renaissance courts and learned environments of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and feature themes centred on Heroism and Love, classical mythology and a particular form of Eroticism. They narrate Petrarch’s Triumphs (Love, Chastity, Fame, Time, Death and Eternity), the heroic acts of Gaius Mucius Scævola, Marcus Curtius and Marcus Atilius Regulus, and the heroines Lucretia, Judith and Dido. They also portray female nudes such as Diana and her nymphs and another nymph being spied on by satyrs, symbolising Virtue discovered by Vice, and Susanna and the Elders, a biblical story offering artists an opportunity to depict female nudity in times of strict Church control. Extremely fragile, they are works of an art unjustly deemed minor in the period of artistic fervour and remarkable passion for classical antiquity that was the Italian Renaissance.