The Book of the City of Ladies, for The Queen’s Manuscript

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"The Book of the City of Ladies" was completed in 1410 by the first documented female author in Europe, Christine de Pizan. It was part of a series of collected works within The Queen's manuscript, made for French Queen Isabeau of Bavaria. The manuscripts' handwritten pages and illustrations prominently feature the Virtues of Reason, Rectitude, and Justice as central figures, conveying the idea of women working collectively towards a shared purpose. The Virtues tell Pizan that she must construct a metaphorical "City of Ladies,"  comprised of heroic women from all walks of life to protect all the women. 

Pizan gave profound insights into the history of graphic design, and strategically harnessed visual elements and content within the manuscript to undo previous ideas of femininity and women's societal roles. Christine's manuscript underscores the significant role of visual communication in relaying intricate ideas, inviting readers to engage with its content on multiple levels, both written and drawn. Through this design choice, she amplifies the impact of her message, making it more accessible to a broader audience. This work is a historical testament to how design wields the power to shape ideas and challenge societal norms. 

Christine de Pizan's "The Book of the City of the Ladies"  Manuscript page, 1410, France
Christine de Pizan's "The Book of the City of the Ladies" Manuscript page, 1410, France