Picturing Women in Renaissance and Baroque Italyby Christa Grossinger
This extensively illustrated book discusses the representation of women in the art of the late Middle Ages in Northern Europe. Drawing on a wide range of different media, but making particular use of the rich plethora of woodcuts, the author charts how the images of women changed during the period and proposes two basic categories: the Virgin and Eve, good and evil. Within these, however, we discover expressions of attitudes to sinful, foolish, married, and unmarried women; the style and use of these images exposes the flail extent of the entrenched misogyny of medieval society. Interesting too is the variety of "good" women and how they were used to confirm the social position of women in different socio-economic classes. We also learn how women fought back: starting in the margins of manuscripts and then emerging in misericords, we find images of women making fools of men; love triangles; and unequal couples in which women are in control. With the advent of printing, a whole genre of satirical prints about women snowballed, and the views they express became available for mass consumption. This fascinating and rich study charts this process in a lively and readable way.
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