Friday, 11 September 2009

: symbol of resistance :

Beatrice Cenci was the true-crime heroine of a notorious Renaissance horror story. In 1598, she conspired with her brother and stepmother to murder her viciously abusive father, Francesco. From the age of 11, Francesco was dragged repeatedly into court, mostly charged with brutality and sodomy. He left serving women for dead and forced himself on the stable boys, and allegedly beat and raped Beatrice, confining her in his remote castle in the Abruzzi mountains. Eventually, his family bludgeoned him to death, throwing his body off a balcony but they left too many traces. Tortured into confession and publicly executed on 11th September 1599, the remarkably self-possessed Beatrice excited immediate public sympathy. The streets of Rome lined with people, flowers piled high as the procession made it's way past. Candles, crosses were left by mourners paying their last respects to this young girl.

She became a martyr and even today a mass is said for her in Rome on the anniversary of her death.
Nineteenth century artists responded to Beatrice's story ~ Shelley wrote The Cenci: A tragedy in five acts.
Julia Margaret Cameron's beautiful silver albumen photograph recreates the beguiling painting thought to be Beatrice, painted by Guido Reni which still hangs in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.

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