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The Struggle between Fortune and Poverty
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Boucicaut Master
French, Paris, about 1415
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.
MS. 63, FOL. 63

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On the left, the personification of Fortune, an elegantly dressed woman with wings, wrestles with the personification of Poverty, a woman raggedly dressed and barefoot. According to the text, Poverty wins this struggle and her victory has a moral message: the renunciation of worldly goods is a virtue that renders fate powerless. Those who voluntarily forsake fame, wealth, and power cannot be affected by a reversal of fortune.

After her triumph over Fortune, Poverty orders that Misfortune, shown partly clothed in the background, be bound to a column. Boccaccio himself appears on the right, dressed as a scholar in a red gown with a hood, echoing the text's mention that he had first heard this story from a professor of astronomy when he was a young student in Naples.