Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

July 2022

An image of a page from a medieval manuscript.
Knight in prayer opposite Christ before Caiaphas, Ruskin Hours, before 1297(?), French, Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, MS Ludwig IX 3, fol. 29r., (Source: Getty, Open Content).

Doyle, Maeve K. "Picturing Men at Prayer: Gender in Manuscript Owner Portraits around 1300." Getty Research Journal 13 (2021): 31-62. Available open access from the Humanities Commons.

Abstract: "The visibility of women in owner portraits from the early era of books of hours (ca. 1230-1350) reflected and shaped perceptions of literate prayer as a feminine activity. While owner portraits of men are comparatively rare, they are not unknown. Images of laymen and laywomen devotees in four illuminated manuscripts from northern France around 1300, and in particular the owner portraits of men in the Ruskin Hours held by the J. Paul Getty Museum, evince the ways gendered use is conceived and constructed in these intimate luxury objects. Images of men at prayer distinguish masculine devotion from feminized practices of literate prayer. Chivalric imagery emphasizes class as well as gender, and the conspicuous absence of the attribute of the book frames lay masculine devotion as an active, externalized practice." — [Reproduced from the journal page available in Humanities Commons.]