Saturday, November 27, 2010

"A Woman Killing Three Sleeping Men"


ca. 1520s

Jan Gossart (Netherlandish, ca. 1478–1532ca.
Pen and brush and black ink, white gouache, on bluish gray prepared paper
Collection Frits Lugt, Paris
This roundel is one of four on view in the exhibition whose designs share size, technique, and style, and which may belong to a series. It seems to illustrate the "power of women," a popular subject in medieval and sixteenth-century Northern art, which warned of the evil of members of the fair sex. Only the subject of one of the other roundels has been identified: the Mycenaean queen Clytemnestra, seated in bed, ordering her lover, Aegisthus, to kill her husband, Agamemnon. Gossart's literary source was likely the Latin collection of stories about famous women De mulieribus claris, by the fourteenth-century Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio. There are no known glass roundels after the designs, so it is possible that they were made and appreciated as autonomous works of art.

Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance @ the Met

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