Self-Representations of Women and Men in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The participants explored the various ways in which medieval and Renaissance painters, sculptors, architects, and donors represented themselves in their work. Through specific case studies students addressed the following questions: Is it true that medieval artists and artisans hid selflessly behind their work wishing to remain anonymous? What do medieval self-representations reveal about the status of the artist, the participation of male and female artists, the participation of clerics and laymen? How did medieval artists perceive their role and their status? How does the function of the self-portrait differ from that of the inscription, monogram, or signature? How did the patron consider the artist's self-portrait? What was the motivation behind the self-portrait hidden within a narrative scene? What is the import of the advent of the autonomous self-portrait? Is the Renaissance self-portrait symptomatic of the rise of the self-conscious individual? Did self-portraits serve the artist's commercial interests?

ASU graduate student Diana Furman (right) views donor images in Utrecht Cathedral together with other invited participants and organizers (Truus van Bueren, Stijn Bossuyt, Marten Jan Bok, Christian Klamt, and Corine Schleif) of the symposium, Care for the Here and Hereafter: The Function of Art in the Medieval Commemoration of the Dead.
©2004 by Corine Schleif