Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 10156
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Dunlop , Anne.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Flesh and the Feminine: Early-Renaissance Images of the Madonna with Eve at Her Feet
  • Source: Oxford Art Journal 25, 2 ( 2002): Pages 127 - 147.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Body Eve (Biblical Figure) in Art Gender in Art Iconography Lippo di Vanni, Painter - Triptych of the Madonna and Child with Saint Dominic, Saint Aurea, and Eve Mary, Virgin, Saint and Child in Art Rome- Dominican Monastery of Santa
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Eleven figures. Figure One Lippo di Vanni, Triptych of the Madonna and Child with Saint Dominic, Saint Aurea, and Eve, 1358, tempera on panel (Rome, Church of Ss. Domenico e Sisto). Figure Two Lippo di Vanni, Triptych of the Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Aurea, and Eve, 1358, detail: Torture of St. Aurea. Figure Three Lippo di Vanni, Triptych of the Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Aurea, and Eve, 1358, detail: Miracle of the Artisan's Son. Figure Four Lippo di Vanni, Triptych of the Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Aurea, and Eve, 1358, detail: Attempted Execution of Aurea and her followers. Figure Five Lippo di Vanni, Triptych of the Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Aurea, and Eve, 1358, detail: Martyrdom of St. Aurea. Figure Six Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, The Annunciation, circa 1445, tempera on panel (Washington, D. C., National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection). Figure Seven Ambrogio Lorenzetti and workshop, Maestà lunette, c. 1334-36, fresco (Montesiepi, Rotunda of S. Galgano). Figure Eight Ambrogio Lorenzetti and workshop, Maestà lunette, c. 1334-36, detail: Eve. Figure Nine Carlo da Camerino, The Madonna of Humility with the Temptation of Eve, c. 1405, tempera on panel (Cleveland Museum of Art, Holden Collection). Figure Ten Master of the "Dormitio" of Terni, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, Angels, and Eve, c. 1390, detached fresco (Spoleto, San Gregorio Maggiore). Figure Eleven Paolo di Giovanni Fei, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Evangelist, Peter, Agnes, Catherine of Alexandria, Lucy, an Unidentified Female Saint, Paul, and John the Baptist, with Eve and the Serpent; and The Annunciation in the spandrels, c. 1390, tempera on panel (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection).
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  • Abstract: In a number of recent writings on gender in late-medieval and early-modern art history, it has been argued the opposition of the Virgin Mary and Eve was fundamental to pre-modern thinking about women. Images pairing the two are assumed to have been prescriptive, with the essential difference between them represented in their painted flesh. This article explores a particular imagery in which Mary is shown with Eve lying at her feet. There are eighteen surviving paintings juxtaposing Mary and Eve in this way, all created in Central Italy between about 1335 and 1445. Rather than constructing gender through binary oppositions, as is often assumed, it is suggested here that such images also stressed potential similarities: of Eve to Mary, and of both figures to Trecento Christians, male and female. Using particular examples, including a triptych created for a Trecento convent by the Sienese artist Lippo Vanni, I hope to show that such paintings were underpinned by a wider understanding of human flesh as a feminised inheritance. This shared condition of constructed weakness linked Mary, Eve, and worshippers as a kind of extended family, and brought concomitant expectations of responsibility and care.
  • Author's Affiliation: Yale University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01426540
  • Material/Technique :
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