These panels were painted for the occasion of the wedding
of the godson of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Gianozzo Pucci to
Lucrezia Bini. The panels tell a story from Bocaccio's
Decameron, 5th tale of the 9th day.
In the first panel we meet Onesti, strolling through the
forest, upset because his fiancÚ has refused to marry him.
His despair is driving him crazy and he wants to be alone,
but his solitude is disturbed by the sound of galloping
hooves. Suddenly a naked woman appears before him, she is
chased by a pack of dogs. The sounds of the hooves have come
from a knight in armour who is riding hard at the woman and
brandishing his sword. Despite such intensity of action in
the foreground of the painting, the background and
surrounding landscape are perfectly peaceful.
In the second panel the woman is caught by the dogs and
wouded by the sword, she has fallen to the ground. The
knight has dismounted and is cutting open her back to take
her heart and feed it to his dogs. Onesti is horrified (look
at his face and the way he turns aside) Then a surprising
thing happens, even before the dogs have finished eating the
heart, the woman gets to her feet again and runs away, the
dogs and horses again in pursuit. Onesti has witnessed a
curse! The woman has to run and the man will kill her until
the end of time, over and over again. Why? Because the man
was in love with her and she rejected him, so now he will
perpetually steal her heart and feed it to his animals.
The third panel shows the brilliant idea this has given
Onesti! He is a jilted lover as well! What better way to get
his girl back than to invite her family to a banquet in the
forest where he has seen this gruesome curse? The family
duely arrive for the banquet and are horrified by the scene
that plays out before them. Once again the foreground is
chaos, but the background is complete serenity.
The fourth panel shows the result of Onesti's plan ...
not wanting to suffer the same fate as the phantom girl,
Onesti's fiancÚ changes her mind and they marry. We are
guests at the wedding, marrying the theme of the work nicely
with the occasion for which it was