Artibus et Historiae no. 60 (XXX)

2009, ISSN 0391-9064

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MARILYN ARONBERG LAVIN - Art of the Misbegotten: Physicality and the Divine in Renaissance Images

Many works of Italian art discussed here, at first glance, seem to concern bodily functions — elimination, masturbation, copulation and the like. Yet they were made by artists who followed the rules of the profession: legally contracted for; made to serve a specific purpose; and destined to be seen in public. While the works are eye-catching because they involve the display sex organs and/or sexual activity, they have ulterior meanings of a higher order than at first appears. In fact, the suggestive actions depicted incorporate a self-confident vision of religion, learning, and social interaction that is fundamental to what is new in the Renaissance.

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