Although this is a print, it is an antique print. The original was a painting from the Italian Renaissance. The painter and subject are unknown. The face of the nun appears very young. Which is not a surprise, since families often sent a daughter to the convent. Often, the families just couldn’t afford a dowery for more than one girl, and sometimes they couldn’t afford one. A young woman would go to the convent ready to serve the church. Gardening, cleaning, praying, helping the poor. Mother Superior was in charge of the fate of the young lady.
This print reminds me of an educated lady, grieving for her family. Maybe it is an evening of a full moon where the light hits the courtyard just right, and the echo of her violin playing brings tears to the eyes of the other young ladies that have come to the convent. Young ladies that miss their families, and their old way of life.
Of course, there were young ladies that came to the convent and had a better life after they were surrounded by other young ladies. There would have been young ladies that would be able to eat good food once they were in the convent. I was once told that city poor was much different than country poor. If you were poor and lived in the city it was a little tougher to obtain fresh food. If you were poor in the country one could glean from neighboring farmers, there were eggs from chickens, and one could grow some of their own food.
Looking at old images really makes me grateful to live here and now. I am so thankful, and appreciate our ancestors, each and everyone of them. The lives they had were not easy! The choices they had to make were so different, and so far removed from the world we live in today.