Added: November 16, 2013 – Last updated: June 3, 2017


Author: Chloë Taylor

Title: The Aesthetics of Sadism and Masochism in Italian Renaissance Painting

Subtitle: -

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, McGill University

Advisor: Bronwen Wilson

Year: 2002

Pages: 124pp.

OCLC Number: 58051031 – Find a Library: WorldCat | OCLC Number: 721250794 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 15th Century | European History: Italian History | Representations: Art / Sandro Botticelli



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Author: Chloë Taylor, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, University of

Abstract: »This thesis analyses selected paintings and aspects of life of the Italian Renaissance in terms of the aesthetic properties of sadistic and masochistic symptomatologies and creative production, as these have been explored by philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Marcel H naff, and Gilles Deleuze. One question which arises from this analysis, and is considered in this thesis, is of the relation between sexual perversion and history, and in particular between experiences of violence, (dis)pleasure and desire, and historically specific forms of discourse and power, such as legislation on rape; myths and practices concerning marriage alliance; the depiction of such myths and practices in art; religion; and family structures. A second question which this thesis explores is the manners in which sadistic and masochistic artistic production function politically, to bolster pre-existing gender ideologies or to subvert them. Finally, this thesis considers the relation between sadism and masochism and visuality, both by bringing literary models of perversion to an interpretation of paintings, and by exploring the amenability of different genres of visual art to sadism and masochism respectively.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. 1)
  Résumé (p. 2)
  Acknowledgements (p. 3)
  Introduction: Sadism, Masochism, and the Body in History (p. 4)
  Chapter One: Sadism and Rape in Renaissance Italy (p. 10)
    I. Rape in Renaissance Italy (p. 10)
      A Minor Crime (p. 10)
      Blood and Sex (p. 14)
      The Social Utility of Rape (p. 16)
      Conclusions (p. 18)
    II. Rape and Sadims in The History of Sexuality I (p. 19)
      Sadism Before the Invention of Sexuality (p. 19)
      From Blood to Sex: Sadism and Power (p. 22)
      Conclusions (p. 26)
  Chapter Two: Sadism and Botticelli's Story of Nastagio Degli Onesti Panels (p. 29)
    I. Repetitions (p. 29)
    II. The Aesthetics of Sadism (p. 34)
      The Sadean Body (p. 34)
      Sadistic Instruction: The Bride's Lesson (p. 38)
      Repetition, Mirrors, Space and Time (p. 40)
      Sadean Space and the Gaze: Schema and Theatre (p. 41)
      Order and the Sadean Script (p. 43)
      The Triumph of Evil (p. 44)
      Rape and Sterility (p. 45)
    III. The Economics of Sadism (p. 46)
    IV. Conclusions (p. 50)
  Chapter Three: Missed Identifications and Longing: The Aesthetics and Gendering of Masochism (p. 53)
    I. Introduction: The Aesthetics of Masochism (p. 53)
    II. Gendering Perversions (p. 57)
      The "Master" (p. 57)
      The Slave (p. 65)
      Male and Female Masochism and the Subversive Text (p. 68)
    III. Conclusions (p. 71)
  Chapter Four: "Under the Sign of Titian": Masochism and the Renaissance (p. 75)
    I. Fur Fetish (p. 75)
      Warm Fur (p. 75)
      Cross-Dressed Fur (p. 80)
      Flayed Fur (p. 83)
    II. Masochism and Vision: The Diana paintings (p. 86)
      The Stricken Beholder (p. 86)
      B(l)inding Love: Playful Masochism (p. 88)
      Diana Discovered by Actaeon: Masochism Proper (p. 90)
      The Death of Actaeon: Masochism Surpassed (p. 91)
    III. Masochism and History (p. 93)
      Masochism and Sacred Love (p. 93)
      Masochism and Profane Love (p. 97)
      Conclusions (p. 100)
  Conclusions (p. 104)
  Images (p. 108)
  Bibliography (p. 120)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Italy / Italian Renaissance | History of Painting: Italian Renaissance painting | 15th-century Italian painters: Sandro Botticelli