Renaissance Household Goddesses

Fertility, Politics, and the Gendering of the Spectatorship


During the Renaissance, Florentine patricians began to litter their homes with luxury goods, engaging in a broad pattern of consumption that has been called “display culture.” This essay addresses a curious and hitherto ignored feature of this visual and material economy: the private display of mass-produced glazed terracotta statuettes. Many of these domestic works represented important political iconographies (for example, Judith and Holofernes and David). In this essay, I focus on one iconographic strain in this genre: private representations of Donatello’s lost Dovizia, a statue erected in 1429 in the Mercato Vecchio, Florence’s ancient “forum.”


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© Anne L. McClanan and Karen Rosoff Encarnación 2002

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