Italian Club Program for March 22, Renaissance Women and the Arts: Courtesans

Italian Club Meeting March 22 Program Preview
Renaissance Women and the Arts: Courtesans
by Dr. Cynthia Stollhaus





Member of the
SLU community
since 1985

About the Presenter:
Dr. Cynthia Stollhans is a Professor of Art History at Saint Louis University where she teaches courses in the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance. Her courses include: High Renaissance Art and Culture; The Art of Rome; Saints in Art; and The Life and Times of Michelangelo. In 2014, Dr. Stollhans published a book on Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Renaissance Roman Art. For the past several years her research focus has been on courtesans and mistresses as art patrons in Renaissance Rome. She usually travels to Rome twice a year to conduct research in the libraries and archives of Rome. Cindy is now a friend of the Italian Club of St. Louis.

About the Program
During the Renaissance era (1400-1600), noble women usually had the choice between being a bride or a nun. But what happened to woman on the lower economic scale who needed to work for a living? Some of these marginalized women became courtesans, women who are given money, luxuries and affection in exchange for entertainment, companionship and sexual pleasures. In art, courtesans are depicted in paintings by famous artists such as Raphael and Parmigianino. One famous courtesan named Fiammetta, who accumulated great wealth, became a patron of art commissioning a funerary chapel in a prominent Roman church. This presentation will explore paintings and architecture that reveal the many facets about the lives and lovers of some of Rome’s most glorious Renaissance courtesans including Fiammetta and Imperia.

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