Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8395
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Simons , Patricia.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Lesbian (In)Visibility in Italian Renaissance Culture: Diana and Other Cases of "donna con donna"
  • Source:   Edited by Whitney DavisJournal of Homosexuality 27, 40180 ( 1994): Pages 81 - 122. Published simultaneously in Gay and Lesbian Studies in Art History. Edited by Whitney Davis. Haworth Press, 1994. 81-122
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Diana (Mythological Figure) Homosexuality Lesbians Mythology- Classical Nude in Art Sexuality Women in Art
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15- 16
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  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Eight figures. "Two Women Embracing," an early sixteenth century engraving by Zoan Andrea, depicts one woman nude from the waist down. Painting of "Diana with Meleager and Actaeon" around 1420 from a "cassone," a wedding chest. A Florentine "desco" from the 14402 depicts Diana and her maidens surprised by Acteon. A maiolica dish from the mid-fifteenth century again shows Diana and her maidens taken by surprise by Actaeon. "Actaeon Watching Diana with her Nymphs Bathing" by Paolo Veronese, 1560-1565. "Two Nymphs" by Parmigiano around 1523. "Diana and Callisto" by Titian, 1556-1559. "Two Nymphs in a Landscape" by Palma il Vecchio, 1516-1518.
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  • Abstract: Current conceptualizations of sexual identity in the West are not necessarily useful to an historian investigating "lesbianism" in the social history and visual representations of different periods. After an overview of Renaissance documents treating "donna con donna" relations which examines the potentially positive effects of condemnation and silence, the paper focuses on Diana, the goddess of chastity, who bathed with her nymphs as an exemplar of female bodies preserved for heterosexual, reproductive pleasures. Yet the self-sufficiency and bodily contact sometimes represented in images of this secluded all-female gathering might suggest "deviant" responses from their viewers. [Reproduced by permission of the Haworth Press.]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Michigan
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1994.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00918369
  • Material/Technique :
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