Added: August 1, 2015 – Last updated: July 1, 2017


Author: Hetty E. Joyce

Title: Picturing Rape and Revenge in Ovids Myth of Philomela

Subtitle: -

In: Receptions of Antiquity, Constructions of Gender in European Art, 1300-1600

Edited by: Marice Rose and Alison C. Poe

Place: Leiden

Publisher: Brill

Year: 2015

Pages: 305-349

ISBN-13: 9789004278745 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9789004289697 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 14th Century, 15th Century; Modern History: 16th Century | European History: English History, French History | Representations: Art



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Author: Hetty Joyce, Department of Art and Art History, The College of New Jersey

Abstract: »Hetty E. Joyce, in Chapter 9, "Picturing Rape and Revenge in Ovid's Myth of Philomela," traces the history of Ovidian Philomela scenes from the late Middle Ages through the end of the sixteenth century in manuscripts (including Rouen and Arsenal copies of the Ovide moralisé discussed by Murray and Simone in Chapter 2), in printed books, and in a set of English or French Renaissance embroidered bed valances of c. 1600. Joyce analyzes the ways in which these images, usually composing cycles of two or more episodes, relate to Ovid's version of the myth of Philomela, the Athenian princess whose brother-in-law, King Tereus of Thrace, imprisoned and raped her, then cut out her tongue. In Ovid's telling, Philomela alerted her sister, Queen Procne, by weaving a tapestry with an encoded message; Procne liberated her, and the sisters served Tereus his dismembered son in revenge. Recent feminst scholarship focuses on Philomela's weaving, but except for the bed hangings, Joyce points out, the late medieval and early modern images do not include this scene. The rape also appears quite late, the tongue-cutting serving in its place in earlier illustrations to convey Tereus' brutality. On the bed valances, likely embroidered by and for a woman of high rank, the representation of Philomela's tapestry with its secret notae for Procne may have offered its artist, patron, or both a celebration of the agency and soldarity of needleworking noble ladies.« (Source: Marice Rose and Alison C. Poe. »Introduction: Classical Reception, Gender Studies, and Art History.« Receptions of Antiquity, Constructions of Gender in European Art, 1300-1600. Edited by Marice Rose et al. Leiden 2015: 23)


Amendola, Natasha. The Medieval Review (December 2016). – Full Text: IUScholarWorks: Digital Repository of Indiana University (Free Access)

Fisher, Allison. Renaissance Quarterly 70(1) (Spring 2017): 257-258. – Full Text: University of Chicago Press (Restricted Access)

Shields, Rebecca. Woman's Art Journal 38(1) (Spring-Summer 2017). Full Text: Old City Publishing (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / England in the Late Middle Ages, Tudor period | History of Europe: History of France / France in the Middle Ages, Early modern France | Mythology: Greek mythology / Philomela