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Strong Women in Renaissance Italy



The story of the Renaissance in Italy is often told through the work of great male artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo. But what about the female half of the population? By exploring works made by, for, or about women, this book aims to reconsider a period of creative ingenuity and artistic excellence from their often-overlooked perspective.

Drawing on the rich collection of paintings, ceramics, textiles, illustrated books and prints at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this publication focuses on images of feminine power, both sacred and secular, telling the stories of saints such as Mary Magdalen as examples of strength and ascetic devotion, Biblical heroines such as Judith as civic and domestic role models, and the mythical sorceress Medea as the ideal of a heroic nude. Women also asserted their presence as artists, artisans and patrons: Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, Vittoria Colonna, Isabella d’Este and Eleonora Gonzaga are just some of the strong women who shaped the life and art of the Italian Renaissance.

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