THE FABRIC OF MARIAN DEVOTION IN ISABEL DE VILLENA'S VITA CHRISTI
Isabel de Villena (1430-1490) is one of the most fascinating women of the Spanish middle ages. Related to the royal family, she became abbess of the Poor Clare convent, the Santa Trinitat, in Valencia in 1462, a position she held until her death in 1490. Her treatise on the religious life, Vita Christi, was the first book by a woman to be printed in the kingdom of Aragon. This is the first full-length survey in English of Isabel’s life and literary works. The author pays particular attention to the way in which devotion to the Virgin Mary is manifested and described through material culture, on her rich fabrics, brocades, silks, shoes, and crown. This reflects the status of Valencia as a centre for trade and producer of silks and velvets at the time.