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Portrait – Giovanni Arnolfini

Throughout the history of houses and the privacy of the family household were places where women spent most of their time.Depending on the stock which included the release of the public could involve going to the market, shops or visit the bourgeois party. But is it really so? Are women were completely excluded from the business world, which at first glance was reserved only for men?

The work of Flemish painter Jan van Ike formed in 1434, Arnolfini Portrait, which is now kept at the National Gallery in London, is the image of the arrow and submissive, but also wise and dignified woman who is able to assume the burden of male responsibilities and showing that women in Northern Europe of the 15th century were present in the public areas and active in the social life of the community. Giovanni Arnolfini, Italian merchant originating from the port city in Tuscany, and his wife Giovanna prices were very prominent members of the Italian colony of merchants in Bruges. Arnolfini has gained an enviable wealth through international trade, cash loans and credit-contracted French and Burgundian ruler. The close relationship of the trader and the duke of Burgundy Philip the Good began his orders tapestry and rich textiles. Soon, Arnolfini has become a major supplier of luxury fabrics and clothes for court.

While most Italian traders held together related frameworks colonies Arnolfini was trying to contact with the high nobility and royal family use in order to gain privileged social status. He became a member of the Grand Chamber of the Duke of Burgundy in 1454 and then he served as Chancellor of the court. As a trader, Arnolfini and financier courtier had more obligations that resulted in frequent absences from Bruges. The person of knowledge and confidence that was supposed to oversee the affairs Arnolfinija, solve problems and tasks during his absence, it was just his wife.

This borrowing was common to women traders and nobles in northern Europe, and often Italy. In a book about the three virtues in the education of women, written by Christine de Pizan 1405, the first woman in history to be a writer by profession, and who fought to improve the position of women in society, emphasizes what is the task of women whose husbands have gained reputation and a high position in the social hierarchy: the husband’s obligation to serve his prince at the court and to travel. The wife must take his place. Although one can find other bailiffs, provosts, administrators, administrators, there must be someone who will supervise them all, and it would be proper for a woman to assume this responsibility. Therefore, it must be informed and must know the legal acts and local customs.


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