In and Out of the Marital Bed Seeing Sex in Renaissance Europe Diane Wolfthal

Publication date:
15 Jun 2010
Yale University Press
224 pages: 241 x 171mm
70 b-w + 30 color illus.
Sales territories:

This book explores images whose sexual content has all too often been either ignored or denied.  Each chapter is devoted to a place that artists associated with sexual activity or desire: the bed, the dressing area of the home, the window and doorway, the bath, and the street.  By examining both canonical works, such as Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and Petrus Christus’ Goldsmith’s Shop and long-neglected objects, such as combs, badges, and bathhouse murals, and by investigating a wide range of sexualities—same-sex desire, adultery, marriage, courtship, and prostitution—Wolfthal demonstrates how illicit forms of sexuality were linked to the “chaste sexuality” of marriage.

Diane Wolfthal is David and Caroline Minter Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Art History at Rice University.

‘Diane Wolfthal draws sharp insights on spoken and unspoken Renaissance taboos by concisely examining artworks and their implied judgement on the scenes depicted.’
-C.J. Lazaretti, Erotic Review