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Lecture 9

Women's Studies 2162A/B Lecture 9: Medieval and the Nude

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Women's Studies
Women's Studies 2162A/B
Julianna Beaudoin

WS Lecture 9: Medieval and Nude - Mary: positive - Eve: sin, temptation, being expelled, seducer, immaculate conception - Catholic church: sex is for procreation only - Penitential – penance, catalogue for punishment to sins, for confessors and how they were supposed to be punish - Fasting and praying - Food and sexuality very closely linked because if we talk about carnal desire (flesh/meat), idea was our stomach is close to sexual organs, so stomach excited = sexually excited - Some positioned condemned, contraception condemned - Should have sex as little as possible - Lent: not supposed to have sex - Medicine is different - Are you in church, do you want a child, all these answers should be yes - Based on a religious right - Medicine: humoral theory: blood, yellow bile, black bile, - Everything you eat, every person consists of combinations of hot, cold, wet, and dry - Cold and wet cold and dry, hot and wet hot and dry - Other argument made with women: we are the ones always after sex because we’re colder and wetter - Also means the male is a fully produced, fully cooked human, sexual organs so well developed they’re outside - Half- cooked male is what a female is - Literature of late middle ages for midwives and pregnant women, what the doctors were arguing is that intercourse is good for humeral balance, but what happens if someone is initiated in sex but not anymore, like widows  health reasons, widows should have sex - According to medieval theory, humans can produce 7 babies, right side with males, left side with females, 3 F, 3M, 1 is hermaphrodite - Conception and Birth: top left birthing seen, women sitting on birthing stool - Astrology: looking at the stars to see if they’ll have a good life and be intelligent, successful, etc. - Caesarean, named after ceaser  supposedly born by caesarean - Modern theory is that because it was a surgical procedure, that’s when men was tending to birth, and now - If something happened when the child was conceived, or it was messed up in the womb: if a woman has a craving for strawberries, the baby will have a formation that looks like a strawberry - Misbehaviour of mother is reflected in the baby - Used instruments to extract baby by force - Fed babies wine to keep them drunk - Homosexuality was punished, but the church differentiated between 2 types, passive and active - Rise in heretical movements in Europe, catharsis, theoretical ideas about sexuality and procreation, Mary gave birth without immaculate conception - Propagating to stop having sex, because sexuality creates flesh, and flesh leads to sexuality - When the church then saw, these movements spring up, went too far and defined sexuality - If you take this, it will induce menstruation  good from humeral perspective, medieval body seen as poorest body, sweat build up, things leaving - Wouldn’t want any of those humours building up, vielled view of abortion - Prostitution was an integral part of today’s society, made them safer - They had all kinds of names for prostitutes, the cuties - Clothing or marks on their clothing  colour in many towns was yellow - Green jacket, being a hunter- what began as positive connotation then subverted into negativity for prostitutes - Where do newlyweds go in Canada, water - Water is life, water is also sexuality - Brothel close to body of water - Dowry, marriage, prostitution  put in sack and drowned her, checked whether she was pregnant or not - Punishment of prostitutes - 1475 boys vs 1855 women, over 400 more women, and they likely couldn’t find a partner, some went into prostitution - lower class- working as a servant, not allowed to get married - what put an end to brothel and bathhouses - makeup – allowed a little bit, but not prettier than other women in society Wendy Pearson History of the Nude • Eck claims that, “The historical prevalence of female nude images cannot be denied (Berger 1977; Bordo 1993; Callaghan 1994; Clark1985; Nead 1992; Pollock1988).” • In The Nude Male, Margaret Walters observes that “The male nude is a forgotten subject.... Over the last 200 years or so, most artists interested in the human body have been obsessed by the female nude” (7) Male vs. Female • The obsession with the female nude arises at roughly the same time as the invention of heterosexuality in the 1860s • Walters points out that for nearly 2000 years, “the male nude overshadowed the female: the naked gods and athletes of the ancient world, Christ stripped and suffering on the cross, Michelangelo’s sensuous but spiritual nudes.” (7) Why the male nude today? - Culturally, we know a great deal about the male response to images of the female body, but relatively little about anybody’s response to image of the male body - Eck’s entire study is premised on the idea that we have social scripts which enable us to look at female nudes and provide them with context and meaning; not so with male nudes - • Walters adds that, “In the two formative periods of Western art, early classical Greece and the early Italian Renaissance, the male body was all- important. Both periods saw the evolution of new naturalism, based on new ways of seeing and feeling. Impelled by scientific curiosity about the structure of the human body, and by a belief in man’s divinity, his central place in the universe, artists created images of the human body at once lifelike and idealized. But it was the male body they studied so lovingly, the male that was taken as the norm and ideal.” (7) Male v. Female - The obsession with the female nude arises at roughly the same time as the invention of heterosexuality in the 1860s - In the renaissance, male body was important Anatomy - One of the things that sets classical Greece and the Renaissance aside from the Middle Ages is knowledge of anatomy - Christians were forbidden to perform anatomy on corpses, which affected both medical and art training - One of the notable features of the Renaissance was the desire to understand the body; many of Leonardo’s surviving works are anatomical drawings - Holding skin up, to demonstrate, art was affected to lack of access to body Renaissance Nudes - Context of the sculpture, David and goliath, sets out to defeat goliath, only has a slingshot, figure of legend, of great prowess, posed not slinging the sling shot, but readiness for battle - “Michelangelo’s enormous marble David stands watchfully erect in the Piazza del Signoria in Florence, tensed to test himself against his own and his city’s enemies. The spectator is encouraged to identify with his youthful courage and determination. Giorgione’s Venus, probably painted around the same time for a private customer, reclines in a calmly beautiful landscape whose curves echo the fertile curves of her nude body. Eyes closed, she is at once receptive and mysterious, endlessly desirable because any desire can be projected onto her.” (Walters 8) Caravaggio
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