Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist – Cornificia (c. 85 BC – c. 40 BC) was a 1st century BC Roman poet and writer of epigrams.

The daughter of Quintus Cornificius and the sister of the poet, praetor and augur Cornificius, Cornificia is known to have married a man named Camerius. Jane Stevson has suggested that this may be the same Camerius who was a friend of the poet Catullus, mentioned in his poem 55.

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

The fact that Cornificia’s brother became both a praetor and an augur indicates that the family held considerable status.

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A praetor was a magistrate and/or military commander, while an augur was a priest whose job it was to “take direction”, interpreting the will of the gods by studying the activities of birds.

The writer Christine de Pisan refers to Cornificia in her book The Book of the City of Ladies (1405), and says that she had an aptitude for learning, especially poetry and scices.

Her reputation as a poet is based mainly on the 4th century Chronicle of St Hieronymus (347–420 AD). Writing about his brother Cornificius, Jerome says: “Huius soror Cornificia, cuius insignia extant epigrammata” (His sister was Cornificia, whose excellent epigrams survive).

Cornificia is one of the 106 subjects of Giovanni Boccaccio’s On Famous Wom (De mulieribus claris, 1362 AD), which says of her:

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She was equal in honor with her brother Cornificius, who was a much acclaimed poet at the time. Not content to excel in so great an art, inspired by the sacred Muses, she rejected the distaff, and turned her hands, skilful in the use of the quill, to writing Heliconian verses… By her gius and work she rose above her gender, and with her great work she gained eternal fame.

The Raissance humanist Laura Cereta wrote in a letter to Bibolo Semproni: “Add also Cornificia, the sister of the poet Cornificius, whose devotion to literature bore such fruit that she was said to have been nourished by the milk of the Castal mice and who wrote epigrams where every sentence was adorned with heliconic flowers.”

A monument to Cornificia and her brother survives in Rome, the inscription reads – CORNIFICIA Q. F. CAMERI Q. CORNIFICIUS Q. F. FRATER PR. AUGUR (Cornificia, daughter of Quintus, wife of Camerius, [and] her brother Quintus Cornificius, Praetor and Augur). Main research paper for master’s in art history Miraculous exceptions or proto-feminist professionals? A study of the gendered self-awareness of four early modern Italian women painters and their negotiation of the professional artistic sphere

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

Despite the reductive categorizations that have consistently defined educated women who professionally participated in the arts, I believe that early modern women painters displayed a critical awareness of their position, manipulating the narratives of gender typing and biases to their advantage. Research on women painters in 16th- and 17th-century Italy has been limited, but has developed significantly over the past fifty years, and current studies have come to a deeper understanding of female experiences. Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani will be brought together in this article to present a snapshot of women’s place in art during the Renaissance and Baroque.[1]At this time, women were considered exempt as a gender from the intellectual the capacity celebrated in the work of male artists, they were not considered skilled enough to produce artwork within the professional artistic sphere. In an industry dominated by men, women with artistic virtuosity were considered unnatural deviations and were therefore stigmatized

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.[2]This language was used to mitigate the challenges that these women’s achievements posed to the male artistic status quo. This article will look at how four artists negotiated their positions, circumvented gender barriers and manipulated restrictive notions of exceptionality to their advantage. In doing so, this study will test prevailing assumptions about the historical conditioning of female agency and critical self-awareness.

From today’s perspective, the evidence of these painters’ self-awareness presents itself as an overview of “proto-feminism”, a complex label applied to a period before the actual conception of feminism, developed just over a century ago. Viewing their work as “proto-feminist” poses challenges in projecting perspectives that are too modern to truly apply to artists working in the Renaissance. The term “feminism” in the modern sense of the word appeared in the 1894-95 version of the Oxford English Dictionary.[3]However, there are some academics, including Sarah Gwyneth Ross, who believe that feminism has a longer history. She notes in her book,

, that “while ‘feminism’ has changed over time, its various manifestations nevertheless share a common motive: the desire to improve the condition of women.”[4] Starting from the feminist notion of improving the female experience, this study will argue that the critical gender awareness visible in the work of these four painters shares some characteristics with modern feminism, while at the same time requiring contextualization within the conditions of early modern Italy. Working within this perspective, it can be productive to use concepts of proto-feminism in this period to acknowledge women’s positions and contributions in society.[5]Although successful professional women artists were categorized as exceptions to the constraints of their gender,

They were nevertheless self-aware of their unique position in society and could use their status as

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For their benefit, to advance their own careers. Their ability to understand their position and use the period’s reductive gender typing within their work and career is undeniably proto-feminist.

The self-awareness of these four Renaissance artists about their “unique” position as women in art will be substantiated through an analysis of some of the painters’ works, focusing on self-portraits as well as allegorical, mythological and biblical subjects. feminist understanding is visible through modern hindsight, but I argue that their manipulation of the prevailing patriarchal conditions justifies its early modern contextualization. In combination with the literary production of women writers from comparable periods who spoke out against socially entrenched oppression, this article will present an argument for self-conscious and strategic manipulations of the paintings and careers of a select group of successful women painters.

[1] While the terms Renaissance and Baroque cover relatively broad time sections, in this article it refers to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

65, no. 1 (March 2004): 7. Ferguson analyzes the complexity of feminism’s history and its non-linear qualities. She thinks so

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Fits well with the artists studied. Proto-feminism, as a term defining feminist thought prior to the 20th century conception of the word, does not exclude non-linear history. In my opinion, the use of protofeminism emphasizes the multifacetedness and diversity of feminism as a concept that exists beyond the periodization of linear history. The OED defined feminism as championing women’s rights, based on equality between the sexes, but many of the women referred to in this study do not advocate equality but female superiority, another facet of the discussion of gender differences and hierarchies.

[5]This obstacle to linguistic categorization is one that I believe is important to examine in light of the evidence of women’s self-awareness and the undeniable proto-feminist narratives of earlier centuries, which can be fruitfully compared to the waves of late twentieth-century feminism and the art of the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The social and cultural changes that were largely experienced during the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries led to a reorganization of the artistic sphere. As the medieval guild framework of arts and crafts receded in the Renaissance, the privileging of the master’s artistic genius evolved into a narrative of artistic exceptionalism for much of modern art history, and that story was gendered male: “[n]ot only did

A man so singularly gifted that, to quote Vasari…[such artists] are not only men but, if it is permissible to say so, mortal gods.”[1]As Fredrika Jacobs explains, art critics and theorists in the Renaissance made the artist a man “endowed with supernatural powers, one who gives wonderful proofs of divine favor, a man who shuns worldly goods and graciously helps his fellow artists,” in between mortal and god.[2] In contrast, a woman artist was never credited with the same immortal superpowers, instead she had

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Beautiful eyes, delicate hands, a lovely body, a sonorous voice, and so on. She, unlike him, is not saintly. She is instead ladylike, for she embodies the qualities most valued and often enumerated by men. While the virtuoso stands “somewhere between the mere mortal and the divine”,

Rather than an accessible reality, the virtuosa was an unattainable model, a standard determined by men. By having the female equivalent of

From the fourteenth century, Italian political and economic progress began to surpass that of the rest of Europe. Society was reorganized along modern lines of consolidation of states, economic mercantile and manufacturing development, all reorganized to reflect a post-feudal and post-guild society. Joan Kelly analyzed these changes in her oft-cited 1984 essay, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” concludes that this development negatively affected the role of women.[5]Kelly explains that

Laura Cereta Collected Letters Of A Renaissance Feminist

Women as a group, especially among the classes that dominated Italian urban life, experienced a contraction of social and personal options that men of their class either did not, as was the case with the bourgeoisie, or did not experience as markedly, as it was. case with the nobility.[6]

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Social changes in

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