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Illuminating Women in the Medieval World

  • Christine Sciacca 

    When one thinks of women in the Middle Ages, the images that often come to mind are those of damsels in distress, mystics in convents, female laborers in the field, and even women of ill repute. In reality, however, medieval conceptions of womanhood were multifaceted, and women’s roles were varied and nuanced. Female stereotypes existed in the medieval world, but so too did women of power and influence. The pages of illuminated manuscripts reveal to us the many facets of medieval womanhood and slices of medieval life—from preoccupations with biblical heroines and saints to courtship, childbirth, and motherhood. While men dominated artistic production, this volume demonstrates the ways in which female artists, authors, and patrons were instrumental in the creation of illuminated manuscripts. 

    Featuring over one hundred illuminations depicting medieval women from England to Ethiopia, this book provides a lively and accessible introduction to the lives of women in the medieval world. 

    This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center June 20 through September 17, 2017.

    Christine Sciacca is associate curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the editor of Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance (Getty Publications, 2012) and the author of Building the Medieval World (Getty Publications, 2010). 

    “This book's accessibility will appeal to many readers, especially those interested in medieval art or women's history.”
    Library Journal, starred review


    120 pages
    7 x 9 inches
    120 color illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-526-6

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum