Women appear quite frequently in medieval art from the Early Christian period all the way to the Late Middle Ages. Some of these images present in some cases a positive image of woman, such as the representations of the Virgin Mary or those of female saints; but in other cases, women can embody very negative connotations, such as Eve or Salome. Old Testament women can go either way, as well as representations of earthly queens, nobles, midwives, artisans, or peasants. Yet in the highly symbolic world of the Middle Ages some women could embody a type of ambiguity that could be reflected in and through art. These women defied the logic of the dichotomy of good/evil, and their existence or visual representation could become a vehicle for multiple interpretations. These sessions will explore the sites of ambiguity connected not only to women as subjects of medieval art, but also the idea of women as patrons and makers of art and how their agency could place them between what was acceptable and what was frown upon.
The sessions is sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Research Group at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers, from those who have presented at our sessions before and from those for whom this will be their first time. Proposals, as well as any questions, can be sent to Prof. Andrew Rabin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Monica Walker at email@example.com.
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