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Women and Art in the Renaissance by Meryl Zwanger - Book Report/Review Example

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Summary: Women and Art in the Renaissance by Meryl Zwanger
In Italy during the Renaissance, the role of women was restricted so as not to “threaten social order and the position of men in social hierarchy” (Zwanger)…
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Women and Art in the Renaissance by Meryl Zwanger

Download file to see previous pages... Thus, the roles of women in art during Italian Renaissance – as artist, patron and subject – were controlled, regulated and manipulated. There are three factors responsible for such restrictions – social pressure, lack of independence or image manipulation. However, despite the constraints on their roles, women continued to pursue their roles in literature, music and art. One role that the women in Italian Renaissance pursued was that of an artist. The restrictions in this role included limiting female artists to painting “portraits and pictures of family members in domestic settings” (Zwanger). Another restriction here is that the fact that most women artists had to end their careers with their marriage. Among the notable figures here include: 1. Caterina van Hemessen – received training under her father’s art studio; painted women in the domestic setting; ended her career upon marriage 2. Marietta Tintoretto – received training under her father but died early 3. Lavinia Fontana – trained under her father and became a more painter successful than the others 4. Sofonisba Anguissola – trained in letters, music and the arts; praised by Michaelangelo; painted a lot of portraits even for Queen Isabella of Spain; successful The first two women above were not as successful as the last two. Nevertheless, all Italian Renaissance women painters and their works are being rediscovered by contemporary historians and scholars. The problem is that scholars associated women painters with a natural instinct for domestic settings rather than put the blame on society. Italian Renaissance women were not only artists but also patrons and commissioners of art. The religious women ordered art decorations for their convents and churches. Queens and female members of the royalty had their portraits painted and used art to “establish and strengthen their power” (Zwanger). Women like Eleanora of Toledo used her portrait with her husband to demonstrate her marriage into high nobility. Lastly, women were also subjects of paintings. They were, however, eroticized such as the Virgin Mary, Lucretia, Judith, Sussana and the mythological characters Flora and Danae. These women were viewed either as courtesans or Neo-platonic figures. Nevertheless, despite the restrictions of their age, women were not completely controlled by society as, for example, many of them still lusted for nude, sensual male figures in art like St. Sebastien. Summary: Worst Century Ever, The Calamitous 14th Century by Adam Sherwin and Helen Nugen The 14th century was “the world’s worst century” because of three bloody events – the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, and the Peasants’ Revolt. The Black Death began in 1348 and killed around 23 million people in northern Europe. It also destroyed the agriculture-based economy. The Black Death was a disease characterized by the appearance of red rings (“God’s tokens”) on the skin where blood leaks into the tissue. Some say it was spread by rat fleas but others contend that travelers were to blame for it. The Hundred Years’ War was already happening before that. It took 116 years from 1337 to 1453. The cause was the claim of the English King Edward III on the French throne after the king of France died heirless. The Peasants’ Revolt in southeast England in 1381 was a result of protests against high taxation in order to pay for the war. It occurred together with separate rebellions in England and France. The rebels killed the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chancellor and John of Gaunt’s physician as well as opened prisons and destroyed legal records. However, aside from these three main horrific and bloody events of the 14th century, there were also “horrible penalties for criminals as well as public executions and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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