Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance
Dwarves, Hirsutes, and Castrati as Idealized Anatomical Anomalies
Subjects: Cultural and Social Studies, Medieval Institute Publications, Renaissance Studies
Series: Monsters, Prodigies, and Demons: Medieval and Early Modern Constructions of Alterity
At the center of this interdisciplinary study are court monsters--dwarves, hirsutes, and misshapen individuals--who, by their very presence, altered Renaissance ethics vis-a-vis anatomical difference, social virtues, and scientific knowledge. The study traces how these monsters evolved from objects of curiosity, to scientific cases, to legally independent beings. The works examined here point to the intricate cultural, religious, ethical, and scientific perceptions of monstrous individuals who were fixtures in contemporary courts.
Introduction Difference as an Inquiry Renaissance Portrait and Intellectual Frame Perfected Miniatures - Dwarves at Court A Civilized Savage - The Hirsute's Conquest Audible Absence - The Castrato's Voice Epilogue Bibliography
"This lively and engaging study not only reveals and reconceptualizes portraits of human 'monsters,' but also, in so doing, rewrites the history of Renaissance portraiture. Ghadessi uses images of known, famous 'human monsters' - a dwarf, a hirsute woman, and a castrato - to highlight normative portraiture constructs, but also to reinvest their subjects with vibrant, vital humanity." Asa Mittman, California State University, Chico
Touba Ghadessi is Associate Professor of Art History at Wheaton College.
New Titles List
Monsters, Prodigies, and Demons: Medieval and Early Modern Constructions of Alterity
- Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance - Dwarves, Hirsutes, and Castrati as Idealized Anatomical Anomalies