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Eight - Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2023

Péter Bokody
Affiliation:
University of Plymouth
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Summary

An overview of representations in church decoration, legal texts, romances, chronicles, and political allegories – notwithstanding the differences of these contexts – can help us to recognize additional patterns. On one end of the spectrum, we find the question of religious imagery. In Last Judgement scenes naked female (and male) figures are represented in large numbers. Physical aggression against the human body is explicit and, in this respect, women suffer violence comparable to sodomites. The use of force is endorsed. Although the imagery is intended to denounce lustful acts, the paintings themselves effectively promote sex crimes. This subversive scenario can lead to the sanitization of the violent encounter between women and their tormentors (missing in the case of sodomites). The two political allegories in Padua and Siena mark the other end of the spectrum. I would like to believe that Giotto di Bondone’s Injustice comes closest to a universal denunciation of rape. Here the display of the naked female victim reinforces the explicit rendering of sexual aggression. The scene is carefully contextualized, which discards sanitizing readings. The radicalism of this fresco is striking even compared to Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s War, where, instead of nudity, an equally general denunciation relies on the indicators of bridal status and abduction. Because of its reference to marriage, Lorenzetti’s work is closer to patriarchal structures than Giotto’s. Nevertheless, these two allegories constitute the pinnacle of visualizing civic political thought in the epoch and sketch the utopia of a rape-free society.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Conclusion
  • Péter Bokody, University of Plymouth
  • Book: The Imagery and Politics of Sexual Violence in Early Renaissance Italy
  • Online publication: 13 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009122528.008
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  • Conclusion
  • Péter Bokody, University of Plymouth
  • Book: The Imagery and Politics of Sexual Violence in Early Renaissance Italy
  • Online publication: 13 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009122528.008
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Péter Bokody, University of Plymouth
  • Book: The Imagery and Politics of Sexual Violence in Early Renaissance Italy
  • Online publication: 13 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009122528.008
Available formats
×