Still Life with Bowl, Giovanna Garzoni
MARGUERITE LOUISE D ′ORLÉANS, the 17th century Grand Duchess of Tuscany, was a difficult spouse. Her husband, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de ‘Medici, was so frustrated by her behavior that he eventually had her banished to a convent in France. While at the convent, she had affairs and gambled at the court at Versailles. She also tried to burn the convent down, an act said to have greatly irritated her husband.
I bring up the Grand Duchess for no reason other than to relay the following story of marital conflict. Most stories of marital conflict are interesting, but this one is particularly so. Whether it has any lessons for us who live in a highly scientific and egalitarian age – a time generally devoid of palace cooks and princesses and convents that accept banished wives – I prefer not to say. The anecdote comes verbatim from the wonderful 1905 book Florentine Palaces and Their Stories by Janet Ross. Read More »