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Look Inside Defining the Renaissance 'Virtuosa'

Defining the Renaissance 'Virtuosa'
Women Artists and the Language of Art History and Criticism


  • Date Published: November 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521664967

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About the Authors
  • Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo are familiar names that are often closely associated with the concepts of genius and masterpiece. But what about Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and Irene di Spilimbengo? Their names are unfamiliar and their works are literally unknown. Why? Defining the Renaissance 'Virtuosa' considers the language of art in relationship to the issues of gender difference through an examination of art criticism written between 1550 and 1800 on approximately forty women artists who were active in Renaissance Italy. Fredrika Jacobs demonstrates how these theoretical writings defined women artists, by linking artistic creation and biological procreation. She also examines the ambiguity of these women as both beautiful object and creator of beautiful object. Jacobs' study shows how deeply the biases of these early critics have inflected both subsequent reception of these Renaissance virtuose, as well as modern scholarship.

    • Includes 2 appendices: a list of artists with references to early (pre-1800) citations; and a selection of early writings
    • Approaches the subject thematically
    • Was the first study of its kind
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521664967
    • length: 246 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Introduction
    2. Problems of praise and Pythagorean contrariety
    3. (Pro)creativity
    4. Melancholia: a case study
    5. La donnesca mano
    6. Misplaced modifiers
    7. 'femmina masculo e masculo femmina'
    Appendix I. A roster of sixteenth-century Italian women artists
    Appendix II. Rime, Madrigali, and other early writings on artists and art

  • Author

    Fredrika H. Jacobs, Virginia Commonwealth University

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