Added: December 3, 2016 – Last updated: July 1, 2017


Speaker: Michael T. Coughlin

Title: The Performance of Masculinity in Titian's Tarquin and Lucretia

Subtitle: -

Conference: 56th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (April 8-10, 2010)

Session: Violence in Early Modern Europe IV

Place: Venice, Italy

Date: April 9, 2010

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 16th Century | European History: Italian History | Cases: Offenders / Sextus Tarquinius; Cases: Victims / Lucretia; Representations: Art / Titian


Link: -



Abstract: »Violence was on the rise in sixteenth-century Venice. Rape was particularly prominent, and the notion that masculine identity must be sustained through violence and the protection of honor was of great contention. In Venice, with its reputation as La Serenissima, the advocacy of such violence was not tolerated lightly. One of the most compelling works addressing masculinity as a cultural construct is Titian’s painting of Tarquin and Lucretia based on the Roman legend of Sextus Tarquinus, whose wife is caught in an act of indiscretion, thus emasculating him before his fellow warriors. His ego crushed, he rapes Lucretia, the exemplary wife of one of his comrades, in an attempt to restore his own virility. By delving into the subtleties of Titian’s painting, I explore the fluidity of gender and its relationship to harmful characteristics like violence and sexual transgression, as well as its insight into the societal discourses of the day.« (Source: Website of the Renaissance Society of America)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Italy / Italian Renaissance | History of painting: Italian Renaissance painting | 16th-century Italian painters: Titian / Tarquin and Lucretia (Titian) | Mythology: Roman mythology / Lucretia, Sextus Tarquinius