Formerly listed as: ARAH-84 | EUST-55 | WAGS-06
Nicola M. Courtright (Section 01)
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206) This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.
GOALS FOR LEARNING
1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;
2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.
No prerequisites. Uncapped.
Presence of the instructor:
Spring semester. Professor Courtright.