Envisioning Gender in Burgundian Devotional Art, 1350–1530: Experience, Authority, Resistance, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Envisioning Gender in Burgundian Devotional Art, 1350–1530

Experience, Authority, Resistance, 1st Edition

By Andrea Pearson


264 pages

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Illuminated here are the relationships between visual culture, faith, and gender in the courtly, monastic, and urban spheres of the early modern Burgundian Netherlands. By examining works by artists such as the Master of Mary of Burgundy, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Bernard van Orley, author Andrea Pearson identifies and explores pictorial constructions of masculinity and femininity in regard to the expectations, experiences, and practices of devotion. Specifically, she demonstrates that two of the most prominent visual genres of the period, books of hours and devotional portrait diptychs, were manipulated by patrons and spectators of both sexes to challenge and negotiate the boundaries and hierarchies of gender, and that marginalized individuals and groups appropriated the types to resist the authority of others and advance their own. Ultimately, the books and diptychs emerge as critical and often contentious sites for deliberating and transacting gender. By integrating books of hours and devotional portrait diptychs into current interdisciplinary theoretical discourse on gender, power and devotion, the author engages scholars in a range of disciplines: art history, history, religion and literature, as well as women's and men's studies.


Prize: Awarded Honorable Mention in the 2008 Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship Best First Book competition In her inspiring study, Andrea Pearson invites us to take a fresh look at seemingly familiar material. Her analysis of Netherlandish books of hours and devotional diptychs proposes that male and female patrons consciously shaped their public role by adopting, modifying or even rejecting gender-specific codes in art. Women are no longer seen as powerless victims in a patriarchal society, but as active agents who shaped the ways in which they were perceived by their contemporaries - an original book, well written and worth reading. Dagmar Eichberger, University of Heidelberg 'Gender is a topic only rarely and only quite recently addressed in the study of early Netherlandish art. Andrea Pearson's fascinating book throws down the gauntlet, demanding that we think more deeply about issues of intention and artistic format. In a series of well chosen case studies, Pearson charts the gendering of books of hours (female) and religious portrait diptychs (male) images in the Burgundian Netherlands of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. This is a highly stimulating and beautifully researched book that should be of great interest to scholars of early modern European culture.' Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Kay Fortson Chair in European Art, University of Texas at Austin

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Performing gender in the Burgundian Netherlands; Authority and community in women's books of hours; Regendering the faith: books of hours, devotional portrait diptychs, and the affirmation of men; The problem of male embodiment in two diptychs from Bruges; Nuns and clerics: ambiguous authority in a devotional portrait diptych; Disrupting gender at the court of Margaret of Austria; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Andrea Pearson is a specialist in the visual culture of northern Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, she has published on gender and devotional art in Gesta, Renaissance Quarterly, Woman's Art Journal, and the Sixteenth Century Journal.

About the Series

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World
The study of women and gender offers some of the most vital and innovative challenges to current scholarship on the early modern period. For more than a decade now, Women and Gender in the Early Modern World has served as a forum for presenting fresh ideas and original approaches to the field. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in scope, this Routledge series strives to reach beyond geographical limitations to explore the experiences of early modern women and the nature of gender in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. We welcome proposals for both single-author volumes and edited collections which expand and develop this continually evolving field of study.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / European
ART / Subjects & Themes / Religious