1st Edition

Images of Sex and Desire in Renaissance Art and Modern Historiography

Edited By Angeliki Pollali, Berthold Hub Copyright 2018
    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 73 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Studies on gender and sexuality have proliferated in the last decades, covering a wide spectrum of disciplines. This collection of essays offers a metanarrative of sexuality as it has been recently embedded in the art historical discourse of the European Renaissance. It revisits ‘canonical’ forms of visual culture, such as painting, sculpture and a number of emblematic manuscripts. The contributors focus on one image—either actual or thematic—and examine it against its historiographic assumptions. Through the use of interdisciplinary approaches, the essays propose to unmask the ideology(ies) of representation of sexuality and suggest a richer image of the ever-shifting identities of gender. The collection focuses on the Italian Renaissance, but also includes case studies from Germany and France.


    [Angeliki Pollali]

    Part I: The Politics of Desire: Stereotypes and Ambiguity of Gender Identity

    1. Body Language in Dürer’s Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand Christians

    [Linda C. Hults]

    2. Hilarious Homoeroticism, or the Renaissance of Stereotypes in Filarete’s Bronze Doors for St. Peter’s

    [Peter Bell]

    3. Carnal Desire and Conflicted Sexual Identity in a ‘Dominican’ Chapel

    [Robin O’Bryan]

    4. Mirror Effects: The Narcissus Emblem in Scève’s Délie

    [Nancy M. Frelick]

    Part II: Mechanisms for Actualizing Desire: From Seduction to ‘Postcoital Man’

    5. Who is to Blame? Representing Adultery in Early Modern Books: Alciato, Aneau, Brant, Ripa

    [Sabine Engel]

    6. Cupid and the Bear: Emblems of Creation and Images of Seduction in Sixteenth-Century Art Writing and Love Imagery

    [Romana Sammern]

    7. The Power of Women and the Postcoital Man

    [Tatiana C. String]

    8. The Double Strike: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes

    [Angeliki Pollali]

    Part III: Beyond the ‘Pleasure Principle’ or the Polysemy of Desire

    9 Violence and Desire: Fetishist Impulses and Violence against the Female Body in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

    [Liliana Leopardi]

    10. Drunkenness, Sex and Desire in Titian’s Bacchanal of the Andrians

    [François Quiviger]

    11. Pollution and Desire in Hans Baldung Grien: The Abject, Erotic Spell of the Witch and Dragon

    [Yvonne Owens]

    12. Gabrielle d’Estrées et l’une de ses Soeurs and the Pleasures of Proliferative Criticism

    [Katherine Crawford]


    Angeliki Pollali is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Art History at Deree—The American College of Greece.

    Berthold Hub is fellow of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut) and lecturer at the University of Vienna.

    "Revolving around notions of Lacanian desire, this provocative volume aims to expand our understanding of the relationship between sexuality and visual culture. The twelve essays assembled here, paying careful attention to historiography, deconstruct a multitude of myths and ideologies in order to advance a more nuanced sense of self and desire. This innovative collection will make a significant contribution to the fields of art history, gender and sexuality studies, and literary theory."

    - Allison Levy, author of Sex Acts in Early Modern Italy (Routledge, 2010)