Concentrating largely on the 'middle ranks' of society in Renaissance Italy - artisans, merchants, and professionals such as bankers and lawyers - this book focuses on new social subjects, new documents and unusual objects. Using innovative methods of inquiry and interdisciplinary analytical tools, contributors explore a little-known but pervasive erotic culture in which sexually explicit artefacts, games and gestures were considered essential to a number of rituals and social occasions. At the same time, they demonstrate how a burgeoning market for erotica, along with a cultural tradition of allusion and innuendo, played an increasingly important role in the Italian peninsula between the fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This volume fills some pervasive lacunae in both Renaissance studies and the history of sexuality through a series of critical engagements with material culture and social custom. It reflects recent scholarly interest in interdisciplinary areas such as the material Renaissance, visual communications, urban sociability in the domestic context, and court records regarding marital disputes.
Sara F. Matthews Grieco
Series edited by
Dr. Allison Levy
Ashgate Publishing Limited
Country of Publication:
Series: Visual Culture in Early Modernity
24 May 2010
Further / Higher Education
Contents: Introduction: hunting for birds in the Italian Renaissance, Guido Ruggiero; Part I Visual Testimony and Verbal Games; Satyrs and sausages: erotic strategies and the print market in cinquecento Italy, Sara F. Matthews-Grieco; The erotic fantasies of a model clerk: amateur pornography at the beginning of the cinquecento, Guido A. Guerzoni; From roosters to cocks: Italian Renaissance fowl and sexuality, Allen J. Grieco; The spirit is ready but the flesh is tired: erotic objects and marriage in early modern Italy, Marta Ajmar-Wollheim. Part II Ritual Eroticism and Sociability: Public display of affection: the making of marriage in the Venetian courts before the Council of Trent (1420a 1545), Cecilia Cristellon; Mail humour and male sociability: sexual innuendo in the epistolary domain of Francesco II Gonzaga, Molly Bourne; Unlocking the gates of chastity: music and the erotic in the domestic sphere in 15th- and 16th-century Italy, Flora Dennis; Coutesan culture: manhood, honour and sociability, Tessa Storey; Index.
Sara F. Matthews-Grieco is Professor of History and Co-ordinator of Women's & Gender Studies at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy.
Reviews for Erotic Cultures of Renaissance Italy
'Erotic Cultures of Renaissance Italy is a wonderful book: original, engaging, well-written and well-researched. An interdisciplinary volume, it will appeal to a broad range of scholars not only in the field of Renaissance studies, but also in the history of sexuality.' Diane Wolfthal, Rice University, USA 'Ashgate, a press remarkable for the high seriousness of its scholarly publications, has with Erotic Cultures of Renaissance Italy and Sex Acts in early Modern Italy stormed the citadel of all who blindly refuse to acknowledge that the Italian Renaissance in its maturity was driven as much by sex as by religion and politics. Both should compulsorily be read by every intending student of art history.' Brian Sewell, London Evening Standard 'This is a book chockfull of stimulating tidbits, fascinating perspectives, innovative analogies, and smart cultural takes. Some of the essays, such as Cristellon's on shifting marriage conventions and civic laws in Venice or Matthews-Grieco's on the two-tiered markets for erotic paintings, are so brilliantly executed and finely argued that they should become required readings in any course on early modern social and material culture.' American Historical Review '... this volume provides an engaging, interdisciplinary look at a hitherto all-too-concealed area of Renaissance Italian Culture.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'This collection of essays brings together new research on various aspects of sexuality in Italian Renaissance culture, including some fascinating, unexpected (and sometimes very funny) primary source material.' English Historical Review 'This immensely valuable collection pioneers ways of reading both visual and textual erotic materials from the early modern era ... Each essay is the result of patient, careful, accurate scholarship and many hours working through original and documentary sources. It moves decisively away from body-fixated discourse and opens up the fascinating diversity of sexual representations to serious cultural enquiry. Elegantly written, meticulously present ... important in so many ways.' Seventeenth Century News