In and Out of the Marital Bed


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Seeing Sex in Renaissance Europe

Diane Wolfthal

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This book explores images whose sexual content has all too often been either ignored or denied.  Each chapter is devoted to a place that artists associated with sexual activity or desire: the bed, the dressing area of the home, the window and doorway, the bath, and the street.  By examining both canonical works, such as Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and Petrus Christus’ Goldsmith’s Shop and long-neglected objects, such as combs, badges, and bathhouse murals, and by investigating a wide range of sexualities—same-sex desire, adultery, marriage, courtship, and prostitution—Wolfthal demonstrates how illicit forms of sexuality were linked to the “chaste sexuality” of marriage.

Diane Wolfthal is David and Caroline Minter Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Art History at Rice University.

'Diane Wolfthal draws sharp insights on spoken and unspoken Renaissance taboos by concisely examining artworks and their implied judgement on the scenes depicted.' —C.J. Lazaretti, Erotic Review

"A fascinating, instructive iconographical and iconological study. . . .This is a thorough and sophisticated study. . . .Highly recommended."—R. L. McGrath, Choice

"In and Out of the Marital Bed performs important work in drawing together diverse images which together speak loudly about the elusive and fleeting subject of sexual experience."—Katharine Craik, Times Literary Supplement
ISBN: 9780300141542
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
224 pages, 6 3/4 x 9 1/2
70 b/w + 30 color illus.
Household Servants and Slaves

A Visual History, 1300–1700

Diane Wolfthal

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