A collection of original essays, Saints, Sinners, and Sisters showcases the diverse questions currently being asked by gender scholars dealing with French, Netherlandish and German art from the medieval and early modern periods. Moving beyond the reclamation of personalities and oeuvres of 'lost' female artists, the contributors pose questions about gender and sex within specific historical contexts, addressing such issues as intended audience, use of the object, and patronage. These avenues of inquiry intersect with larger cultural questions concerning societal control of women. The book's three sections, 'Saints,' 'Sinners,' and 'Sisters, Wives, Poets' are each preceded by a concise introductory essay, detailing themes and offering reflective comparisons of theses and information. In 'Saints,' contributors look at women who were positive exemplar used by society to uphold standards. In the second section, the essays focus on the power of women's sexuality. The third section expands beyond the customary dichotomous division of the first two to examine women in diverse roles not widely studied as positions of women in those times. This final section expands our definitions of women's responsibilities and realigns them historically; it argues that women, and thus gender, need to be understood within a much broader historical context and beyond simplistic approaches sometimes superimposed by present-day readers on past times. This volume answers an acute need for research on the art of Northern Europe prior to the 20th century, and highlights the possibilities of new directions in the field. The effect of the new scholarship presented here is to broaden the discursive field, allowing fluidity of disciplinary boundaries, resulting in a volume that is illuminating to historians of more than art alone.
Saints, Sinners and Sisters received an Honorable Mention by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for a collaborative project published in 2003
'This is an important collection of essays that addresses the diverse roles that women played in the visual culture of northern Europe during the medieval and early modern eras… the sensitivity of each author to issues of historiography and methodology makes this collection a particularly rewarding read and a rich source for study in seminars on gender and northern European art.' Jean C. Wilson, Renaissance Quarterly
'This anthology fills a major lacuna in the study of Northern European art… the clearly written and well illustrated articles should be accessible - indeed inspiring - to most intelligent undergraduates.' HNA Newsletter
'The level of scolarship… is uniformly high.’ CAA Reviews, November 2005
’The collection challenges art historians to build upon the precedent-setting feminist and gender studies… As it reaches a wider audience, the volume goes a long way towards incorporating the issues of gender, sex, and class into broader textbook knowledge.’ Sixteenth Century Journal
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Saints and Sinners: Saints: Introduction; Virtuous model/voluptuous martyr: the suicide of Lucretia in northern renaissance art and her relationship to late medieval devotional imagery, Carol M. Schuler; JÃ¶rg Breu the Elder's Death of Lucretia: history, sexuality and the State, Pia F. Cuneo; Domesticity in the public sphere, Martha Moffitt Peacock; Sinners: Introduction; The gothic mirror and the female gaze, Susan L. Smith; DÃ¼rer's Four Witches reconsidered, Linda C. Hults; Distaffs and spindles. Virtue and sexuality in Sebald Beham's Spinning Bee, Alison G. Stewart; Sisters, Wives, Poets: Introduction; Richildis and her seal: Carolingian self-reference and the imagery of power, Genevra Kornbluth; Woven devotions. Reform and piety in tapestries by Dominican nuns, Jane L. Carroll; The many wives of Adam Kraft: renaissance artists' wives in legal documents, art-historical scholarship, and historical fiction, Corine Schleif; From shrew to poetess:two non-traditional female roles evoked by a curious painting by Gabriel Metsu, Linda Stone-Ferrier; Together in misery: medical meaning, and sexual politics in two paintings by Jan Steen, Laurinda S. Dixon; Index.