Imagery of Violence Against the Female Body in Early Modern Catholic Europe



Lloyd, Ashley

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This thesis examines the use of violence, particularly sexual violence, in imagery created for the two major patrons of the Early Modern period, the Catholic Church and the courts of Catholic Europe. Changes in theological practice, as well as the reality of violence surrounding the Counter Reformation, led to the Catholic Church using violent imagery of martyrs as tools for devotion, as well as a reinforcement of beliefs about virginity. Sovereigns utilized sexually violent mythological imagery as propaganda, identifying themselves as the abducting heroes and the abducted figures as their subjects. While these images were certainly erotic, they were not only so; instead, these were complex, multivalent images which reflected the values and ideals of their patrons.



Baroque, Rubens, Sexual violence, Female virgin martyr saints, Gender, Santo Stefano Rotondo