Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1665), a Bolognese artist, significantly contributed to the Italian protofeminist tradition through her three depictions of the classical figure Iole. These images are drastically different than other depictions of the time period because Sirani shows Iole as an isolated figure removed from her turbulent relationship with Hercules. By focusing on Iole as an individual, Sirani allowed Iole to be seen away from the male gaze; in doing so, Iole encompassed masculine characteristics while maintaining her sovereignty and femininity. Sirani's paintings of the strong and confident Iole are clear evidence that not only was Sirani inspired by the receptive environment in which she was raised, but she was also actively empowering women through her art and advancing the protofeminist tradition in early modern Italy.
College and Department
Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
White, Heather Elizabeth, "Sirani, Iole and Protofeminism in Early Modern Bologna" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7517.
Elisabetta Sirani, Protofeminism, Male Gaze, Early Modern, Iole, Omphale, Bologna