Ambiguity and the Fixing of Identity in Early Renaissance Florence

Diogenes 45 (177):17-35 (1997)
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Abstract

A citizen of Early Renaissance Florence that stepped out into the streets and entered the spaces of his civic world joined a concert of creative formal behaviors in which he was at once an actor and a spectator. His problem here was to interpret the complex web of overlapping, conflicting and simultaneous meanings he would have read in the actions and images by which the community directed him and represented itself, and find his own place and set his standing. On most occasions he would probably have elected for a state of suspension, a floating of multiple possibilities he was loath to precipitate in too stable a form: in ambiguity the citizen of Florence developed a richness of signification, and found a refuge.

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