Renaissance dating and marriage
Since most young adults will marry, the process employed in finding a husband and wife is still considered courtship.
However, an extra layer, what we call "dating," has been added to the process of courting.
The exhibition was on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from November 11, 2008, through February 16, 2009. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, available in the Museum Shop.
This important volume, by a distinguished group of scholars, is the first to examine the entire range of works to which Renaissance rituals of love and marriage gave rise and makes a major contribution to our understanding of Renaissance art in its broader cultural context.
If you are familiar with computer programming terminology, you can liken dating to a sub-routine that has been added to the system of courtship.
Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating "subroutine." Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes "the date." The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .
The man and the woman usually were members of the same community, and the courting usually was done in the woman's home in the presence (and under the watchful eye) of her family, most often Mom and brothers.
The section Profane Love will focus on erotic, at times salacious, imagery treated in drawings, prints, and other objects created by some of the most celebrated artists of the time, including Parmigianino and Giulio Romano.
The world of the courtesan and associated luxury items will also be explored in the exhibition.
Famed for their beauty, cultural accomplishments, and wit, courtesans were especially prevalent in Rome and Venice.
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Kimbell Art Museum.
It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.