June 2022

The Creative Courtesan

The Arts Society Coventry
Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 19:00
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Jordan Well Coventry CV1 5QP
Online Event

Find out more about the women that modelled for Renaissance master painters.

Titian’s Venus of Urbino is just one of a number of Renaissance masterpieces that celebrate the beauty of the female form.  But who were the women who modelled for such paintings? In an age where the church required pre-marital celibacy but turned a blind eye to non-conformity, and where rich high-class men married late to virginal women to whom they did not expect to be faithful, being an artist's model was an interesting job for beautiful and intelligent women.  In cities like Rome and Venice, a lively courtesan culture emerged, where women as cultured, clever, and fashionable as they were lovely were an accepted and sometimes influential element of elite society.  This lecture names names and tells stories, with wonderful images to match.


Ms Sarah Dunant

Novelist, broadcaster and critic. Sarah read history at Cambridge, then worked for many years as a cultural journalist in radio and television on such programmes as Kaleidoscope (BBC Radio 4), The Late Show (BBC 2), and Night Waves (BBC Radio 3). She has published thirteen novels, taught renaissance studies at Washington University, St Louis, is a visiting tutor on the MA in creative writing at Oxford Brooks and has lectured around the world at festivals and conferences. Her last five novels have been set within the Italian Renaissance. In the Name of the Family (2017) completes the story of the Borgia family and the remarkable period of Italian history in which they lived. Her recent series on history for BBC Radio 4, called When Greeks Flew Kites is available on podcast or listen again: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b090ccrh/episodes/player