Golden Nuggets

Bayeux Tapestry

"The Bayeux Tapestry, although made for a Norman patron (probably Odo, named bishop of Kent after the Conquest), was almost certainly executed by English seamstresses, perhaps in Canterbury, who reveal themselves in their spelling of the tapestry’s Latin labels and in their technique. These same women and their contemporaries also, of course, were busily preserving the Saxon roots of the English language, transmitting it to English children long after the Norman Conquest had added its French vocabulary to the mix. English embroidery, or opus anglicanum, became one of the most prized luxuries of the European Middle Ages." - Ingrid D. Rowland
Essay 1 Due
Making the Bayeux Tapestry











Illuminated manuscript = a hand written and illustrated manuscript from the Western or Islamic traditions, commonly produced on vellum and incorporating gold and silver leaf

Probably Jean Le Noir and/or his daughter Bourgot,
Psalter and Hours of Bonne de Luxembourg, before 1349.











Marcia creating aself-portrait with the aide of a mirror, from Boccaccio, Concerning Famous Women, 1402.











Reasons that Medieval women joined convents:


  • Wanted to live a religious life
  • Adult women with pasts to be forgotten
  • Daughters presented as tithes by parents
  • Sickly or un-marriageable daughter
  • Women who wanted to escape the roles of motherhood and marriage - convents provided the only opportunity for women to live outside the constraints of medieval society
Claricia from the German Psalter,  13th century.











Hildegard of Bingen
1098 - 1179


Carpet page from Scivias

Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, 1142 - 1152.


Scivias = Know the Ways












Hildegard von Bingen, the Fifth Vision of the Second Part from Scivias, 1142 - 1152.


More illustrations from the Scivias











Christine de Pizan
1364 - 1430


Christine and Justice

When her husband died, Christine de Pizan turned to writing for income
  • She supported herself, her mother and her three children with her writings
  • Became the first known woman in western literature to make a living off of her art
Christine with Justice, 15th century.











The Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan, Opening Page of the Book of the City of Ladies, 1405.











Christine de Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies, 1405.


"If it were customary to send daughters to school like sons, and if they were then taught the natural sciences, they would learn as thoroughly and understand the subtleties of all the arts and sciences as well as sons."
- Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies











Christine de Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies, 1405.











Christine presenting work to Queen Isabeu of Bavaria, 1410 - 1411.











Historical Context
Guttenberg begins selling one of the first books published with movable type in the West (movable type invented in China about 400 years earlier)

Gutenberg Bible

Gutenberg Bible


Portuguese explorers reach Africa's Gold Coast
Pope Innocent VII succeeds to papacy and outlaws witchcraft
Columbus discovers West Indies and South America
First road map of Europe published
Beginning of Protestant Reformation
First circumnavigation of the earth
Sack of Rome











Vitruvian Man

Significant developments in the western world view
become influential by the 1400s:
  • Increased exploration of the world
  • Scientific investigation of nature and the human body
  • Medieval religious zeal becomes more tempered
  • Development of the city-state and nations
  • Growth of capitalism and trade
  • Guilds become more powerful and women's participation in them less common
  • The artist's social standing is eventually
    elevated from skilled laborer to gifted intellectual
Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1487.











The three most recognized Florentine Renaissance artists...
Mona Lisa
Madonna of the Meadow
Da Vinci, Mona Lisa, c. 1503 - 1505.
Raphael, Madonna of the Meadow, 1505.
Michelangelo, David, 1501 - 1504.