Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3121
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Baader , Gerhard.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Elections of Abbesses and Notions of Identity in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italy, with Special Reference to Venice
  • Source URL: Renaissance Quarterly (Full Text via JSTOR) 54, 2 (Summer 2001): 389-429. Link Info target = '_blank'>Renaissance Quarterly (Full Text via JSTOR) 54, 2 (Summer 2001): 389-429. Link Info
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Abbesses Art History- General Ceremonies Chronicles- Monastic Monastic Elections Monasticism Nuns Patronage, Artistic Patronage, Ecclesiastical Portraits of Abbesses Venice Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15- 16
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Twelve illustrations. Figure One Drawing of the facade of the convent church of Santa Maria delle Vergini in Venice (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Correr 317, fol. 10r). Figure Two Drawing of the emperor, doge, and first abbess Giulia (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Correr 317, fol. 18v). The chronicle was written in 1523. Figure Three Drawing of the "marriage" of Abbess Maria Ziani to the doge (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Correr 317, fol. 29v). Figure Four Cristoforo Cortese, Profession of a nun at Santa Maria delle Vergini, fifteenth century (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Cicogna 1569, fol. 1r). Figure Five Drawing of the "marriage" of Abbess Francesca Zorzi to the doge (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Correr 317, fol. 41v). Figure Six Drawing of the "marriage" of Abbess Clara Donato to the doge (Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, cod. Correr 317, fol. 54v). Figure Seven Portrait of Umiliana di Tommaso Lenzi, late sixteenth century (Florence, Museu di Sant' Apollonia). Figure Eight Tombslab of Francesca Zorzi, died 1428 (Venice, Seminario patriarcale). Figure Nine Antonio Vivarini, The Magdalene Being Transported by Angels, mid- to late-fifteenth century (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie). Includes a small portrait of an abbess as donor in the lower left-hand corner. Figure Ten Andriola de Barrachis, Enthroned Virgin and Child with Nuns, 1489 (Pavia, Pinacoteca Malaspina, Museo Cirico). The abbess Andriola de Barrachis painted this panel herself, including an inscription identifying herself as the artist. She is also present in the painting in the place of honor with Mary's hand directly above her head. Figure Eleven Giovanni Mansueti, St. Matthew Enthroned with Saints, 1516 (Venice, Private Collection). Figure Twelve Detail of a carved handbasin originally in Santa Maria delle Vergini, Venice, 1531 (Venice, Seminario patriarcale).
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Ceremonies of election to abbess were occasions of great display. Election to this highest of offices was the defining moment of a successful nun's life, and thereafter self-identity became crucial. This article examines an anatomy of an election of 1509 by a nun from San Zaccaria in Venice; the illustrated chronicle of Santa Maria delle Vergini in Venice dated 1523, written by an anonymous nun; and the visual representation (in a range of media) of various abbesses from Florence, Pavia, and Venice. Success in election conferred the possibility of personality and consequently legitimated personalized representation. [Reproduced by permission of the Renaissance Society of America.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Natur- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Grundlagenmedizin und Medizinische Ökologie, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00344338
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: