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#50 Raphael and the Ladies: A Conversation with Sheryl E. Reiss

Updated: Nov 13

The 50th session of Paola's Studiolo, is dedicated to the Renaissance ultimate ladies man - Raphael! Our esteemed guest, Sheryl Reiss, teaches at the University of Chicago and has published widely on Italian art and art patronage of the early sixteenth century, focusing particularly on the patronage of members of the Medici family, and on Raphael and Michelangelo.


Saturday, November 12th on Zoom

10am Los Angeles, 11am Phoenix, 1pm NY & Toronto, 6pm London, 7pm Italy

Raphael and the Ladies: The Prince of Painters and Female Patrons, Collectors, and Viewers

During his all-too-brief career, Raphael of Urbino (1483-1520) frequently benefited from the patronage of women and painted works intended for female viewers ranging from nuns to noblewomen. In Urbino, Città di Castello, and Perugia Raphael created large altarpieces and small, delicate paintings for women and, in what is conventionally called his Florentine period (1504-8), many of his Madonnas were for young wealthy, couples and possibly associated with betrothals, marriages, or childbirth. During his Roman years, Raphael worked for fewer women and repeatedly ignored a commission from female patrons dating to his early years. Raphael’s women patrons and viewers came from different social classes and were often linked via bonds of kinship and friendship. Topics considered in this talk include networks of female patrons that helped to shape the painter’s career; how Raphael catered to women’s tastes in different locales; and how he varied his style to suit different female patrons. A coda will address women who collected and viewed paintings by Raphael from the late sixteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Sheryl E. Reiss received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1992 and has lived in Chicago since 2018. She is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library and teaches for the Graham School of the University of Chicago. Previously, she has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Cornell University, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Reiss is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art and architecture with particular interest in the history of patronage. She is also interested in women and gender; archaism in early modern art; exchange between Italy and Northern Europe; and funerary art. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Renaissance Society of America, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art (CASVA), and the Newberry Library. She has published widely on Italian art and art patronage of the early sixteenth century, focusing particularly on the patronage of members of the Medici family, and on Raphael and Michelangelo. She has co-edited two books: Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy (2001, with David Wilkins) and The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture (2005, with Kenneth Gouwens). She is currently preparing a book titled The Making of a Medici Maecenas: Giulio de’ Medici (Pope Clement VII) as Patron of Art and, with Yvonne Elet and Linda Wolk-Simon is co-editing a collection of essays titled Reconsidering Raphael for Brepols.

To RSVP: Paola50122@gmail.com Minimum suggested donation: $20 This talk is free for Friends of Paola's Studiolo! Look forward to seeing you on Zoom! Warmest regards, Paola





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