ARTH(W)435 Women & the Arts in Italy, Helen Watterson, Spring 2020 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTH(W)435 Women & the Arts in Italy, Helen Watterson, Spring 2020

Purpose Statement

This course will cover imagery focused on women in Italian art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including the Virgin Mary, female saints and martyrs, heroines, goddesses, sibyls, wives and courtesans. It will also study outstanding female artists and patrons. In addition to the periods cited above, the study of female artists and patrons will also include examples from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The imagery, artists and patrons discussed will be examined within their social and cultural context, and as reflections of the role of women in their respective time periods. Some of the female artists to be studied are Suor Plautilla Nelli, Properzia de’ Rossi, Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, Margherita Caffi, Elisabetta Sirani, Rosalba Carriera, Angelica Kauffman, Maria Louisa Amalia Dupré, Benedetta Cappa, Antonietta Raphael, Adriana Pincherle, Eloisa Pacini, Carla Accardi, and Ketty La Rocca. Among the artists whose representations of women will be considered are Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Ghirlandaio, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Bronzino, Caravaggio, and Bernini. Several of the female patrons to be covered are Isabella d’Este of Mantua, Eleonora of Toledo (wife of Duke Cosimo I Medici), Vittoria della Rovere (wife of grand duke Ferdinand II), the two Medici queens of France, Anna Maria Luisa--the last Medici, Elisa Baciocchi, and Peggy Guggenheim. The course will include visits on site to museums and monuments in Florence, as well as day field trips to Bologna and Mantua. Discussion of the various topics covered is an integral part of this course, especially during the site visits and on field trips. Course requirements include two substantial papers, and a final exam with essay questions. When possible, guest lectures by scholars distinguished in this field will also be organized during class time. 3 credit hours.


At least one previous course in art history.


Wed., Jan. 15 – Meet in classroom. Introduction to the course. Women in art for a domestic context in the early Renaissance: moral lessons for the wife in Old Testament heroines , such as Susanna and Queen Esther, in women from classical mythology and Roman history, as Lucretia, Virginia, and the Sabine Women, and in stories from late medieval literature, especially Boccaccio’s Decameron, including those of Griselda and of Nastagio degli Onesti; these stories as painted on marriage furniture (the cassoni or wedding chests, spalliere or painted backboards for nuptial chambers, and deschi da parto or birth trays).

Fri., Jan. 17 – Meet in classroom. Female portraiture in early Renaissance art from a domestic to an ecclesiastical context: commemorative painted portraits of virtuous women, as Battista Sforza by Piero della Francesca, sculpted portrait busts and funerary sculpture, and portraits of women in Renaissance fresco cycles and altarpieces.

Sat., Jan. 18 – EARLY RENAISSANCE ART DAY FIELD TRIP TO RAVENNA focused on Early Christian and Byzantine art. Visits to San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Mausoleum of Theodoric, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Arian and Orthodox Baptisteries. This trip is recommended to members of this class since famous women from the Early Christian period are also discussed, in particular the Empress of the West Galla Placidia, an important patron of the arts in her time, and the Byzantine Empress Teodora, the consort of Emperor Justinian, born the daughter of a bear tamer in the imperial circuses, and whose ascent to empress is a Cinderella story come true. Details to be announced.

Wed., Jan. 22 -- Meet in front of church of S. Maria Novella (before façade decorated with green and white marble) for visit to this major Dominican church and its adjacent museum with focus on female imagery and particular emphasis on the monumental fresco cycle by Ghirlandaio in the Tornabuoni Chapel there which is replete with portraits of Florentine women from the late Quattrocento who lived during the “Golden Age” of Lorenzo the Magnificent Medici. The patron for this chapel was Lorenzo’s uncle, Giovanni Tornabuoni. We will also see the newly restored Last Supper by Plautilla Nelli, a Dominican nun and the first female artist of Florence, who painted this extraordinary work for her convent of Santa Caterina off Piazza San Marco.

Fri., Jan. 24 – Meet at central column in Piazza Repubblica to walk to Palazzo Davanzati, the Museum of the Florentine House, for site visit there: the role of women in the late medieval and Renaissance home; furniture for women and life in the home.

Sun., Jan. 26 – HIGH RENAISSANCE FIELD TRIP TO VINCI AND MEDICI VILLAS. You are recommended to attend this trip for viewing works by Baroque female artists Margherita Caffi , Giovanna Garzoni, and Suor Veronica Vitelli, in the Museum of Still Life paintings in the Villa of Poggio a Caiano. Details to be announced.

Wed., Jan. 29 -- Meet in classroom. Female portraiture in the High Renaissance and after: a new focus on human psychology of the subject together with, in some cases, frank eroticism; Leonardo, Raphael, Titian, and others; the real and the ideal; the official state portraits of the Maniera by Bronzino.

Fri., Jan. 31 – Meet in the classroom. The female nude from antiquity through the Middle Ages, and into the Renaissance – from sensuality to guilt and shame and then back to sensuality and sexuality.

Sat., Feb. 1 – DAY FIELD TRIP TO BOLOGNA, especially for viewing of works by female artists there. Details to be announced. Bologna, where Europe’s first university is located – still an important educational institution today – has a particularly rich history in terms of fostering female artists, the first of which was a nun: Suor Caterina Vigri; most Bolognese women artists were instead the daughters of prominent painters, from Lavinia Fontana to Elisabetta Sirani. In addition to painters, Bologna boasts the first and only known female sculptor of the Renaissance: Properzia de’ Rossi, a controversial personality whose personal history also includes brushes with the law. Details to be announced.

Wed., Feb. 5 -- Meet in front of the Bargello (on Via del Proconsolo) to study female portraiture in this museum, as well as other female imagery there, including nudes and Madonnas and Childs.

Fri., Feb. 7 – Meet in the classroom. The Virgin Mary: from Isis to Empress in the Early Christian period, to real human mother and model for women as well as ideal of beauty and fashion in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, to woman from the common people within the context of the “low church” in the early Baroque.

Sat., Feb. 8 -- EARLY RENAISSANCE ART FIELD TRIP TO SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO. Students in our class are encouraged to sign up for this field trip, which will acquaint you with a city focused on the Virgin Mary as special protector, and also familiarize you with Saint Catherine of Siena, one of the great female mystics of the late Middle Ages. Her head and one of her thumbs are in a chapel in the Dominican church of Siena, and the nearby house of her family where she grew up, has been transformed into a sanctuary. Further details to be announced.

Wed., Feb. 12 – Meet in front of the group entrance to the Uffizi (on left side of Piazzale of Uffizi half way down towards river from Piazza Signoria) for a first visit to the gallery. Please be very punctual as we will have a reservation. There will be an overview of female imagery in painting of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Among the works to be viewed are various Madonnas and Childs and portraits across these periods, allegorical female imagery and of course mythological paintings, including the famous Botticelli Primavera and Birth of Venus; the role of mythological pictures in the Renaissance home in connection with marriages and/or births.

Fri., Feb. 14 – NO CLASS. HELEN CANNOT BE THERE THAT DAY DUE TO HIGH RENAISSANCE FIELD TRIP TO ROME. A make-up class is scheduled for Wed., Apr. 1 in the evening.

Wed., Feb. 19 -- Meet punctually in Piazza Signoria, at copy of Michelangelo’s David in front of Palazzo Vecchio. In this class we first discuss the female imagery (or lack of it) in the monumental statuary in Florence’s civic center where the sculpture expressed Florentine civic pride and identity. Among the works to be considered are Cellini’sPerseus and the Medusa, and Giambologna’s Rape of a Sabine Woman, both of which have been recently interpreted as images of female subjugation by feminist art historians. Then we visit the interior of Palazzo Vecchio, the former home of the government of the Florentine Republic, and later residence of the Medici Grand Duke Cosimo I and his consort Eleonora da Toledo. There we will focus in particular on Eleonora’s apartment and its decoration, including her splendid chapel, and also look closely at Donatello’s remarkable bronze statue of Judith and Holofernes, the first monumental work of art picturing this Biblical heroine in the Renaissance . We will discuss the changing meanings and locations of this masterpiece, as well as its once unique role as a heroic female image of Florentine civic liberty.

Fri., Feb. 21 – Meet in the classroom. Female saints—from penitence to ecstasy.

Wed., Feb. 26 -- Meet at entrance to the beautifully renovated Opera del Duomo Museum (on north side of Cathedral to the left, just beyond entrance for climbing Brunelleschi’s dome), with focus on female imagery there, for example Donatello’s famous and harrowing woodenMary Magdalen, and the Marys in Michelangelo’s Florence Pietà.

Fri., Feb. 28 – Meet in the classroom. Female heroines; female allegories of the arts and of virtues and vices; female personifications of political entities; sibyls; evil and/or monstrous women from Campaspe (Phyllis) to Salome and Medusa. First term paper due!

Sat., Feb. 29 – Sun., March 8 –SPRING MIDTERM BREAK.

Wed., Mar. 11 -- Meet in classroom. Images of women in the art of Michelangelo and the heroic female: Mary, Eve, Venus, sibyls, Leda, and the allegories of the Times of Day – female empowerment or a distortion of nature? Visit to Medici Chapel at San Lorenzo to view Michelangelo’s female imagery there at end of class.

Fri., Mar. 13 -- Meet in classroom. The emergence of female artists – painting nuns before and in the Renaissance: Saint Caterina Vigri; Suor Plautilla Nelli; the first Italian female artist to have an international career: Sofonisba Anguissola.

Fri., Mar. 13 – Sun., Mar. 15 – OPTIONAL FIELD TRIP TO POMPEII, HERCULANEUM, AND NAPLES, including visits to excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and to the Archeological Museum and the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. Further details to be announced.

Wed., Mar. 18 – Meet in Piazza Ss. Annunziata, in front of basilica for brief discussion of this church including a sacrosanct medieval image of the Annunciation, presumably finished by an angel and still highly venerated today – mass will be going on in front of this image so you are recommended to see the interior on your own -- and then visit to church of S. Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (beautiful Baroque sanctuary redecorated to house the remains of this saint of the Carmelite order who was a sort of local counterpart to Saint Teresa of Avila); next we go to the ex-convent of Sant’Apollonia, where Benedictine nuns lived a cloistered life, and discuss how the Last Supper there by Andrea del Castagno would have related to the religious women who ate with it on a daily basis; finally we visit the Convent of San Marco specifically to view Suor Plautilla Nelli’s masterpiece there, her Lamentation , together with some works by Fra Bartolommeo, whose drawings Plautilla Nelli learned from. San Marco houses a museum focused on Fra Angelico, an early Renaissance painter who lived in the monastery where he created some of his best-known works. You are encouraged to see these on your own after class.

Fri., Mar. 20 – Meet in classroom. Female artists of the sixteenth century continued: Properzia dei Rossi, Lavinia Fontana, and Marietta Tintoretto.

Wed., Mar. 25 – Meet in classroom. Female patrons from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance: from penitential piety to Renaissance humanism—Isabella d’Este of Mantua, the most famous female patron of the Renaissance will be a major focus of this lecture

Fri., Mar. 27 – Meet exceptionally at 8,30 in front of the entrance to the Uffizi (on left side of Piazzale of Uffizi half way down towards river from Piazza Signoria) for a second visit to the gallery. Please be very punctual as we will have a reservation. We will be viewing works from the north Italian High and late Renaissance, the Mannerist and Baroque periods relevant to our course, for example Bronzino’s portraits of women, as Eleonora of Toledo with her son Giovanni, Titian’sVenus of Urbino, and Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes.

Sat ., Mar. 28 -- DAY FIELD TRIP TO MANTUA, including visits to the Ducal Palace, where Isabella d’Este’s two studies were, and the Palazzo Te, a masterpiece of the Mannerist period built by Giulio Romano and his workshop for Duke Federigo Gonzaga (son of Isabella d’Este) as a pleasure palace to enshrine his mistress Isabella Boschetti. Details to be announced.

Wed., Apr. 1 – Meet in classroom. Female artists of the sixteenth century concluded and female artists of the seventeenth century, especially the Caravaggista Artemisia Gentileschi, but also including Fede Galizia, Margherita Caffi, Giovanna Garzoni, and others.

Wed., Apr. 1 – Meet exceptionally at 7,30 P.M. in classroom for make-up class for Fri., Feb. 14. Critical viewing of film on Artemisia Gentileschi by Agnes Merlet (French with English subtitles). Date to be confirmed.

Fri., Apr. 3 – Meet in classroom. Female artists of the seventeenth century continued and of the eighteenth century: Elisabetta Sirani, Giulia Lama, Rosalba Carriera, Anna Morandi Manzolini, and others. From Baroque to Rococo and the Age of Enlightenment.

Sat., Apr. 4 – Sun., Apr. 5 -- EARLY RENAISSANCE ART FIELD TRIP TO AREZZO, SANSEPOLCRO, MONTERCHI, ASSISI, AND URBINO. Students in this class are recommended to sign up for this trip, which allows one to see the famous female imagery of Piero della Francesca, including his Madonna del Parto, the outstanding pregnant Madonna of the Early Renaissance, together with the wing of the Ducal Palace in Urbino for the Duchesses Battista Sforza and Elisabetta Gonzaga; the latter was renowned for her humanist vigils recorded as exemplary of good manners of a gentleman and gentlewoman in Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier.

Wed., Apr. 8 -- Meet in classroom. Female patrons from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: moral virtue and Counter-Reformation piety—Eleonora of Toledo, Isabella Medici, Maria Maddalena of Austria, Vittoria della Rovere, the two Medici queens of France, and Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici; Elisa Baciocchi, a female patron of the Napoleonic period; female ex-pats of the twentieth century as patrons of the arts with focus on Peggy Guggenheim, and foreign female benefactors of the arts in the present, in particular the recently deceased Jane Fortune and the AWA (Advancing Women Artists Association founded by Jane Fortune and continuing her mission).

Fri., Apr. 10 – Meet in classroom. Italian female artists of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and/or foreign female artists who lived in Italy, for example E. Vigée Le Brun and Angelica Kauffman. From Rococo to Neoclassicism, and beyond. Study guide for final exam to be distributed.

Wed., Apr. 15 -- Meet in front of Palazzo Pitti for visit to Palatine Gallery to view work relevant to our course there, including paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi and Giovanna Garzoni, as well as famous female imagery by Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Titian, and others.

Fri., Apr. 17 – Meet in classroom. If possible to arrange, guest lecture by Giovanna Giusti, a former curator in the Uffizi Gallery who is very interested in female artists on: “Self-portraits by female artists formerly in the Vasari Corridor from the 16th through the 21st century—from self-representation to self-expression.” In December of 2010 Giusti curated an important exhibition on self-portraits of women artists in the Uffizi collection, and recently she re-arranged and augmented the already remarkable collection of self-portraits in the Vasari Corridor. Unfortunately for political reasons primarily, the present director of the Uffizi and Pitti decided to have these self-portraits removed to make the corridor just a passageway as it initially was when completed in 1565. The future placement of the self-portraits formerly in the Corridor is uncertain. To be confirmed.

Wed., Apr. 22 -- Meet in classroom. Italian female artists and female artists born outside of Italy but who worked in Italy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Amalia Ciardi Dupré, Elizabeth Chaplin, Benedetta Cappa, Antonietta Raphael, Adriana Pincherle, Eloisa Pacini, Carla Accardi, and others. Second term paper due!

Fri., Apr. 24 -- Meet in classroom. FINAL EXAM.


Term Paper & Other Course Requirements

All students taking this course for credit are required to submit two term papers, one by the middle of the semester (due on Fri., Feb. 28) and one at the end (due on Wed., Apr. 22). The first must be on a topic involving female imagery, and the second on a female artist or artists. Both papers should exploit as much as possible on site research of the works of art chosen for study. See list of suggested paper topics for ideas for both papers. Term papers must be properly footnoted and must include a list of sources consulted in a bibliography. Do not do papers only from the Internet! Limit use of Internet as much as possible as the information on it is sometimes unreliable and hard to control. You may of course use JSTOR, which SACI has access to for scholarly articles, but be sure to also consult the books in the library relevant to your topics. Illustrations can be a positive addition (even your own drawings) to both papers. Students in this course are in addition required to take a final exam with essay questions. A prompt for these questions will be given out about ten days before the exam.

Class Power Point Lectures

All fifteen of the classroom power point lectures are on a USB pen drive available for study in the library and should be regularly reviewed each week. The title of the pen drive corresponding to our lectures is Women Estate 2016. If some of the material cannot be covered within the classroom lectures due to lack of time, it can be studied directly from the lectures on the USB pen drive, which also include written commentaries on the works presented.


Attendance both of the regular classes and the field trips to Bologna and Mantua is required and of the utmost importance. According to school policy, more than two unexcused absences will result in a lowered grade. Late arrival to class is also penalized, so please be punctual!


Your grades are based on your two term papers (35 % each), your final exam (20 %), and attendance and oral participation (10 %).

Graduate Students

Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.

Office Hours

Office hours for any problems with course requirements and for consultation regarding term paper topics and bibliography for these papers are Wednesday after class and Friday after class. You can also make an appointment for another time, should regular office hours be inconvenient.

Required Reading

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: The books and articles below are available for consultation in the SACI Worthington Library. If you wish to purchase your own copies, many can be ordered from the Paperback Exchange, Via delle Oche 4R, or from or


Paola Tinagli, Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender Representation Identity, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1997. (available for purchase at the Paperback Exchange) before midterm
ISBN: 9780719040542 (Retail price: $35)

Richard Trexler, The Women of Renaissance Florence, Power and Dependence in Renaissance Florence, vol. 2, Pegasus Press, reprint 1998. before midterm
ISBN: 9780866981576 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Rona Goffen, ed., Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Cambridge University Press, 1997. before midterm
ISBN: 9780521449007 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Jonathan K.Nelson, ed., Suor Plautilla Nelli (1523-1588). The Painter-Prioress of Renaissance Florence, Syracuse University of Florence, The Villa Rossi Series, vol. IV, 2008. (available for purchase in Paperback Exchange) after midterm
ISBN:9788879232159 (Retail price: $24.95)

Jane Fortune, Invisible Women, Forgotten Artists of Florence, The Florentine Press, 2nd edition, Jan. 2010. after midterm
ISBN: 9788890243455 (Retail price: $34)

Mary Garrard, Artemisia Gentileschi, The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press, 1989. after midterm
ISBN:  9780691002859 (Retail price: $52.50)

Vera Fortunati, ed., Lavinia Fontana of Bologna 1552-1614, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Exhibition Catalogue, Electa, 1998. after midterm
ISBN: 9788843563944 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Alison Cole, Virtue and Magnificence, Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts, Harry Abrams, 1995, chapter Six, “The Art of Diplomacy: Mantua and the Gonzaga,” 143 – 169. after midterm
ISBN: 9780810927339 (Retail price: To Be Determined)


Martha Levine Dunkelman, “Donatello’s Mary Magdalene: A Model of Courage and Survival,” Women’s Art Journal, 26, no. 2, Autumn 2005 – Winter 2006, 10-13. before midterm

Yael Even, “The Heroine as Hero in Michelangelo’s Art,” in William Wallace, ed., Michelangelo: Selected Scholarship in English, vol. 2, The Sistine Chapel, Garland Publishing, 1995, 381-385. before midterm
ISBN: 0815318251 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Mary Garrard, “Here’s Looking at Me: Sofonisba Anguissola and the Problem of the Woman Artist,” Renaissance Quarterly, XLVII, 3, pp. 556-622. after midterm

Yael Even, “The Loggia dei Lanzi: A  Showcase of Female Subjugation,” Women’s Art Journal, Vol. 12, N° 1 (Spring – Summer, 1991), 10-14. before midterm

Supplementary Reading

Most of the following books and articles are available for loan or consultation in the SACI Worthington Libary.

Historical Studies of Women in Renaissance Society

Margaret King, Women of the Renaissance, University of Chicago Press, 1991.
ISBN: 9780226436180 (Retail price: $35)

Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, Thames & Hudson, 1990.
ISBN: 9780500202418 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Joan Kelly-Gadol, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, ed. By Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, 137-64.
ISBN: 9780395796252 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Geraldine A. Johnson and Sara F. Matthews-Grieco, eds., Picturing Women in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
ISBN: 9780521565806 (Retail price: $36)

J.K. Sowards, “Erasmus and the Education of Women,” Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 13, no. 4, Winter, 1982, 77-89.

Peter McDonough, “Metamorphoses of the Jesuits: Sexual Identity, Gender Roles, and Hierarchy in Catholicism,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 32, no. 2, Apr., 1990, 325-356.

Monographs or articles on women artists, general considerations of women artists and feminism

Norma Broude & Mary Garrard, The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, New York: Harper and Collins, 1992.
ISBN: 9780064302074 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Thalia Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Mathews, “The Feminist Critique of Art History,” The Art Bulletin, Sept. 1967, vol. 69, no. 3, 326-357.

Donna G. Bachmann and Sherry Piland, Women Artists: An Historical, Contemporary and Feminist Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1978.
ISBN: 9780810811492  (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Caroline Murphy, Lavinia Fontana, A Painter and her Patrons in Sixteenth-Century Bologna, Yale University Press, 2003.
ISBN: 9780300099133 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Federika H. Jacobs, “The construction of a life: Madonna Properzia De’Rossi ‘Schultrice’ Bolognese,” Word & Image, vol. 9, n° 2. April-June 1993, 122-132.

Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, Sofonisba Anguissola: The First Great Woman Artists of the Renaissance, New York, Rizzoli, 1992.
ISBN: 9780847815449 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

R. Ward Bissel, Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art, University Park (PA), Pennsylvania University Press, 1999.
ISBN: 9780271021201 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Elizabeth Cropper, “New Documents for Artemisia Gentileschi’s Life in Florence, Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXXV, n°1088, Nov. 1993, 760-62.

Elizabeth S. Cohen, “The Trials of Artemisia Gentileschi: A Rape as History,” The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 31, no. 1, 47-75, April, 2000.

Mieke Bal, The Artemisia Files: Artemisia Gentileschi for Feminists and other Thinking People, University of Chicago Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9780226035819 (Retail price: $35)

Germaine Greer, The Obstacle Race: the Fortunes of Women Painters and their Work, London, Secher and Warburg, 1979.
ISBN: 9781860646775 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Babette Bohn, “The Antique Heroines of Elisabetta Sirani,” in Renaissance Studies, vol. 16, n. 1, 52-79.

Linda Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” in Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, 145-178.
ISBN: 9780064301831 (Retail price: $45)

Judith M. Bennett, “Medievalism and Feminism,” Speculum, vol. 68, no. 2, Apr., 1993, 309-331.

Vera Fortunati and Claudio Leonardi ed., Pregare con le Immagini, Il Breviario di Caterina Vigri, Editrice Compositori, Bologna, 2004.
ISBN: 8877944323 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Renaissance Marriage Chests and other furniture and decoration made for the home

Cristelle Baskins, Cassone Painting, Humanism and Gender in Early Modern Italy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
ISBN: 9780521583930 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Graham Hughes, Renaissance Cassoni. Masterpieces of Early Italian Art: Painted Marriage Chests 1400-1550, London Art Books International, 1997.
ISBN: 9781874044246 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Virtù d’Amore, Pittura Nuziale nel Quattrocento Fiorentino, eds. Claudio Paolini, Daniela Parenti, and Ludovica Sebregondi, Exhibition Catalogue Galleria d’Accademia and Museo Horne, Giunti, 2010.
ISBN: 9788809750449 (Retail price: €45)

Jacqueline Marie Musacchio, Art, Marriage, & Family in the Florentine Renaissance Palace, Yale University Press, 2008.
ISBN: 9780300095630 (Retail price: $65)

Female patronage

Peter Porcal, “Le Allegorie del Correggio per Lo Studiolo di Isabella d’Este a Mantova,” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, vol. XXVIII, 1984, 225-276.

Sheryl Reiss & David Wilkins (eds.), Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, Truman State University Press, 2001.
ISBN: 9780943549880 (Retail price: $35)

Catherine E. King, Renaissance Women Patrons. Wives and Widows in Italy c. 1300-1550, Manchester University Press, 1998.
ISBN: 9780719052897 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Marilyn R. Dunn, “Spiritual Philanthropists: Women as Convent Patrons in Seicento Rome,” in Cynthia Lawrence (ed.), Women in Early Modern Europe: Patrons, Collectors and Connoisseurs, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.
ISBN: 9780271015682 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Marilyn R. Dunn, “Piety and patronage in Seicento: two noblewomen and their convents,” Art Bulletin, 76, 1994, 644-63.

Christopher Hibbert, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, Penguin, 1974.
ISBN: 9780140050905 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Giovanna Benadusi and Judith C. Brown, ed., Medici Women: The Making of a Dynasty in Grand Ducal Tuscany, Toronto, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2015.
ISBN: 9780772721808 (Retail price: $45.95)

Iconography, including studies of the Virgin Mary, and general discussion of subject matter both mythological and religious

Jacobus of  Voragine, The Golden Legend, Vol. 1, trans. William Ryan, Princeton University Press, 1993. (Written by medieval bishop of Genoa, brings together oral traditions elaborating on Bible and telling lives of saints; was often used as a source by painters and sculptors throughout the Renaissance.)
​ISBN: 9780691001531 (Retail price: $39.95)

Jacobus of  Voragine, The Golden Legend, Vol. 2, trans. William Ryan, Princeton University Press, 1993. (Written by a medieval bishop of Genoa, brings together oral traditions elaborating on Bible and telling lives of saints; was often used as a source by painters and sculptors throughout the Renaissance.)
ISBN: 9780691001548 (Retail price: $39.95)

George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, Oxford University Press, 1966. (Concise explanation of Christian subject matter and symbolism.)
ISBN: 9780195014327 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Edith Hamilton, Mythology, Rebound by Sagebrush, 1999. (A classic book on Greco-Roman myths.)
ISBN: 9780881030341 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

James Hall and Kenneth Clark, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, Richard D Irwin, 1985. (Excellent summary of Christian and mythological subject matter and symbolism.)
ISBN: 9780719541476 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, Westview Press, 1972. (First published in 1939, remains an excellent consideration of Renaissance humanism, for example neo-Platonism as reflected in the art of Michelangelo and Titian.)
ISBN: 9780064300254 (Retail price: $55)

Timothy Verdon, Mary in Florentine Art, Firenze, Mandragora, 2003.
ISBN: 9788874610105 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary, London, Vintage, 2000.
ISBN: 9780394711553 (Retail price: $20)

Emile Male, The Gothic Image, Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century, Harper, 1958.
ISBN: 9780064300322 (Retail price: $59)

Louise Marshall, “Manipulating the Sacred: Image and Plague in Renaissance Italy,” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 3, Autumn, 1994, 485-432, section on Madonna of Mercy (Madonna della Misericordia).

Madlyn Kahr, “Delilah,” The Art Bulletin, vol. 54, no. 3, Sept. 1972, 282-299.

Madlyn Kahr, “Danae: Voluptuous, Venal Women,” Art Bulletin, 60, 1978, 43-55.

Female Saints, nuns, prostitutes

Lois Drewer, “Margaret of Antioch the Demon-Slayer, East and West: the Iconography of the Predella of the Boston Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine,” Gesta, vol. 32, n. 1, 1993, 11 – 20.

Susan E. Wegner, “Heroizing Saint Catherine: Francesco Vanni’s Saint Catherine of Siena Liberating a Possessed Woman,” Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, Spring – Summer, 1998, 31-37.

Rebecca J. Lester, “Embodied Voices: Women’s Food Ascetism and the Negotiation of Identity,” Ethos, vol. 23, no. 2, June, 1995, 187 – 222.

Helen Baxter, “Nibbles, Religion and Eating Disorder,” European Eating Disorders Review, 9, 2001, 137 – 139.

Michael J. Call, “Boxing Teresa: the Counter-Reformation and Bernini’s Cornaro Chapel, Women’s Art Journal, 18, 1, 1997, 34-39.

Gari Laguardia, “Santa Teresa and the Problem of Desire,” Hispania, 633, 1980, 523-531.

Margaretta Salinger, “Representations of Saint Teresa,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 83, 1949, 97-108.

Susanne Warma, “Ecstasy and Vision: Two Concepts Connected with Bernini’s Teresa,” The Art Bulletin, 66, no. 3, 1984, 508-511.

Karen-Edis Barzman, “Devotion and Desire: The Reliquary Chapel of Mary Maddalena de’Pazzi,” Art History, 15, 2, 1992, 171-196.

Gary Radke, “Nuns and Their Art: the Case of San Zaccaria in Renaissance Venice,” Renaissance Quarterly, 54, 2001, 430-59.

Elizabeth S. Cohen, “Honor and Gender in the Streets of Early Modern Rome,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 22, no. 4, Spring, 1992, 597-625.

Vera Fortunati, ed., Vita Artistica nel monastero femminile, Exempla, Editrice Compositori, Bologna, 2002.
ISBN: 887794319X (Retail price: To Be Determined)

General Texts, Articles and Monographs primarily or exclusively on male artists and their works helpful for images of women covered in course by important male artists of the Renaissance through Baroque periods

Jonathon Katz Nelson, “The Florentine Venus and Cupid: A Heroic Female Nude and the Power of Love,” in Venus and Love, Michelangelo and the New Ideal of Female Beauty, exhibition catalogue,  ed. Franca Falletti and Jonathon K. Nelson, Prato: Giunti, 2002, 27-89.
ISBN: 8809026659 (Retail price: €29.75)

Philip Sohm, “ Gendered Style in Italian Art Criticism from Michelangelo to Malvasia,” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 48, n. 4, Winter, 1995, 759-808.

Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, Seventh Edition, Pearson, 2010. (Previous editions also acceptable.)
ISBN: 9780205705818 (Retail price: $152.20)

John Paoletti and Gary M. Radke, Art in Renaissance Italy, Laurence King, 1997.
ISBN: 9781856690942 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Rudolph Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy: 1600-1750, Pelican History of Art, 1958; new edition in 3 volumes, Yale University Press, 1999.
ISBN:  Vol. 1, Early Baroque, 9780300079395 (Retail price: $35); Vol. 2, High Baroque, 9780300079401 (Retail price: $35); Vol. 3,  Late Baroque, 9780300079418 (Retail price: $35)

Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, trans. John Spencer, Yale University Press, 1966.
ISBN: 9780300000016 (Retail price: $17)

Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists, Vol. 1, trans George Bull, Penguin Classics, 1988.
ISBN: 9780140445008 (Retail price: $15)

Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists, Vol. 2, trans George Bull, Penguin Classics, 1988.
ISBN: 9780140444605 (Retail price: $15)

James Stubblebine, The Arena Chapel Frescoes, Norton Critical Studies, 1969.
ISBN: 9780393314069 (Retail price: $19.95)

Penny Howell Jolly, Made in God’s Image? Eve and Adam in the Genesis Mosaics at S. Marco, Venice, Univ. of California Press, Los Angeles, 1997.
ISBN: 9780520205376 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

H.W. Janson, The Sculpture of Donatello, Princeton, 1963.
ISBN: 9780691035284 (Out of print)

Bonnie Bennett and David Wilkins, Donatello, Phaidon, 1984.
ISBN: 9780714821757 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Elizabeth Cropper, “The Beauty of Women, Problems in the Rhetoric of Renaissance Portraiture,” in Rewriting the Renaissance: the Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe, ed. Margaret W. Ferguson et al. Chicago and London: University of Chicago, 1986, 179-190.
ISBN: 9780226243146 (Retail price: $32.50)

Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, Pantheon Books, 1983.
ISBN: 9780394535807 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Sarah Blake McHam, “Donatello’s Bronze David and Judith as Metaphors of Medici Rule in Florence,” The Art Bulletin, March, 2001, 32-47.

Adrian W.B. Randolph, Engaging Symbols; Gender, Politics, and Public Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2002.
ISBN: 9780300092127 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Kenneth Clark, Leonardo da Vinci, Penguin, 1989.
ISBN: 9780140169829 (Retail price: $21.95)

Sigmund Freud, Leonardo da Vinci: A Memory of His Childhood, Ark Paperbacks, 1984.
ISBN: 9780744800098 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Dianne Hales, Mona Lisa, A Life Discovered, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
ISBN: 9781451658965 (Retail price: $28)

Rab Hatfield, The Three Mona Lisas, Officina Libraria, Milan, 2014
ISBN: 9788897737391 (Retail price: $39.95)

Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy, A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style, Oxford University Press, 1974.
ISBN: 9780192821447 (Retail price: $19.95)

Jeffrey Ruda, Fra Filippo Lippi, Life and Work, London, Phaidon, 1993.
ISBN: 9780714838892 (Retail price: $59.95)

Ronald Lightbown, Botticelli, Abbeville Press, New York, 1989.
ISBN: 9780896599314 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Herbert Horne, Botticelli, Painter of Florence, reprint, Princeton, 1980.
ISBN: 9780691003238 (Out of print)

Mirella Levi d’Ancona, Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’, a Botanical Interpretation includine Astrology, Alchemy, and the Medici, Firenze, Olschki, 1983.
ISBN: 9788822231314 (Retail price: €91)

Mirella Levi D’Ancona, Due Quadri del Botticelli Eseguiti per Nascite in Casa Medici, Olschki, 1992. (English summary at end of text.)
ISBN: 9788822239860 (Retail price: €23)

Lillian Zirpolo, “Botticelli’s Primavera”: a Lesson for the Bride,” Women’s Art Journal, Autumn 1991 – Winter 1992, 24-28.

Liana Cheney, Botticelli’s NeoPlatonic Images, Maryland: Scripta Humanistica, 1985.
ISBN: 9781882528035 (Retail price: $59.50)

Webster Smith, “On the Original Location of the Primavera,” Art Bulletin, 57, 1975, 31-40.

Jean K. Cadogan, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Artist and Artisan, Yale University Press, 2000.
ISBN: 9780300087208 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Eve Borsook and Johannes Offerhaus, Francesco Sassetti and Ghirlandaio at Santa Trinità, Florence, Davaco, 1981.
ISBN: 9789070288037 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Howard Hibbard, Michelangelo, Pelican Books, 1985.
ISBN: 9780140225938 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Robert Liebert, Michelangelo: A Psychoanalytical Study of his Life and Images, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1983
ISBN: 9780300027938 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Nathan Leites, Art and Life, Aspects of Michelangelo, New York Univ. Press, 1986.
ISBN: 9780814750216 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Roger Jones and Nicholas Penny, Raphael, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1983.
ISBN: 9780300040524 (Retail price: $45)

David Ekserdjian, Correggio, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997.
ISBN: 9780300072990 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Simon Cohen, “Andrea del Sarto’s Monsters: the Madonna of the Harpies and human-animal hybrids in the Renaissance, Apollo, date uncertain.

Margaret A. Gallucci, Benvenuto Cellini: Sexuality, Masculinity, and Artistic Identity in Renaissance Italy, New York, Macmillan, 2003.
ISBN: 9781403968968 (Retail price: $36)

Charles McCorquodale, Bronzino, Chaucer Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9781904449485 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

John F. Moffitt, “A Hidden Sphinx by Agnolo Bronzino, ‘ex tabula Cebetis Thebani’,” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 46, n.2, summer, 1993, 277-307.

Janet Cox-Rearick, Dynasty and Destiny in Medici Art: Pontormo, Leo X, and the two Cosimos, Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1984.
ISBN: 9780691040233 (Out of print)

Howard Hibbard, Caravaggio, Harper and Row, 1983.
ISBN: 9780064301282 (Retail price: $54)

Howard Hibbard, Bernini, Penguin, 1965
ISBN: 9780140135985 (Retail price: $16)

Eugene Cantelupe, “Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love Re-examined,” The Art Bulletin, vol. 46, no. 2, June, 1964, 218-227.

Rona Goffen, “Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love and Marriage,” in Norma Broude and Mary Garrard, eds., The Expanding Discourse. Feminism and Art History, New York, Harper Collins, 1992, 111-126.
ISBN: 9780064302074 (Retail price: $65)

Rona Goffen, Titian’s Women, New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 1997.
ISBN: 9780300068467 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, New York: Penguin Classsics reprint, 1997.
ISBN: 9781499121445 (Retail price: $9.99)

Lewis Ames and Rogers, Concepts of Beauty in Renaissance Art, Vermont, Ashgate, 1998.
ISBN: 9781859284254 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Rona Goffen, “Mary’s Motherhood according to Leonardo and Michelangelo,” Artibus et Historiae, 1999, 35-64.

Rona Goffen, “Lotto’s Lucretia,” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 3, Autumn, 1999, 742-781.

Alexander Nagel, “Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna,” The Art Bulletin, vol. 79, no. 4, Dec.1997, 647-668.

Note: The SACI Library has copies of all of the required readings (both books and articles), which are on the art history reserve shelf, and of some of the supplementary reading. However, you are highly recommended to purchase Tinagli, Women in Italian Renaissance Art, Nelson, Plautilla Nelli, and Fortune, Invisible Women. These books can be acquired at the Paperback Exchange, Via delle Oche 4R. In addition you can go to other libraries here in Florence for research for your term papers, for example that of the art history department of the University of Florence on the Via della Pergola. Ask SACI librarian Roberta Mazzotti for more information on other libraries here in Florence, such as those of the British Institute and the Dutch Institute. We also have access to articles in scholarly periodicals on the web through JSTOR.


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