Re-membering Masculinity in Early Modern Florence: Widowed Bodies, Mourning and Portraiture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Re-membering Masculinity in Early Modern Florence

Widowed Bodies, Mourning and Portraiture, 1st Edition

By Allison Levy


346 pages

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From Pliny to Petrarch to Pope-Hennessy and beyond, many have understood the obvious connection between portraiture and commemorative practice. This book expands and nuances our understanding of Renaissance portraiture; the author shows it to be complexly generated within a discourse of male anxiety and pre-mortuary mourning. She argues that portraiture could defer memory loss or, at the very least, pictorially console the subject against his own potentially unmourned death. This book recognizes a socio-cultural anxiety - the fear not merely of death but also of being forgotten - and identifies a set of pictorial, literary and theoretical strategies consequently formulated to ensure memory. To explore this phenomenon, this interdisciplinary but fundamentally art historical project merges early modern visual culture and critical theories of the body. The author examines an extensive selection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century male and female portraits, primarily associated with the Medici family, circle and court, in and against both historical writings and contemporary discourses, including literary and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, feminism and gender studies, and critical theories of race and disability. Re-membering Masculinity generates new ideas about both male and female portraiture in early modern Florence, raises even more questions about the experiences and representations of widowhood and mourning, and re-configures our understanding of masculinity - from the early modern male body to 'Renaissance Man' to postmodern manhood.


' …Strikingly original … breaks new ground through its remarkably original observations. Without doubt this provocative book makes a major contribution to the fields of gender, art history, history, literature, and disability studies.' Diane Wolfthal, author of Images of Rape and Professor of Art History, Arizona State University

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Disjecta Membra. Part I The Anatomy of Mourning: Mnemonic v(o)ices; The widow's cleavage. Part II The Melancholy of Anatomy: The death of the fathers; Phantom limbs; Afterword; The big stiff; Bibliography; Index.

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / European