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Adultery and the Gaze: A Reading of Lucrezia Tornabuoni’s Story of Devout Susanna (La istoria della casta Susanna

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Gabrielli, Francesca Maria. (2012). Adultery and the Gaze: A Reading of Lucrezia Tornabuoni’s Story of Devout Susanna (La istoria della casta Susanna. Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia, 57. pp. 71-89. ISSN 0039-3339

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Abstract

The crucial knot of Lucrezia Tornabuoni’s Story of Devout Susanna (La istoria della casta Susanna) is the narrative insistence on the reifying eff ects of a gaze gendered as male: Susanna is, as in the apocryphal/deuterocanonical account, represented as an object of voyeurism. It is my aim to show the subtle ways in which Tornabuoni’s depiction of Susanna embraces a series of allusions to other female fi gures such as Dante’s Matelda, Beatrice and Proserpina (Pg XXVIII, XXX, XXXI), Petrarch’s Laura and Danaë (RVF 126, 23). Carrying the plurivocal traces of other women represented as visual objects, Tornabuoni’s reinterpretation of the biblical heroine suggests how the objectifying eff ects of the male gaze can slide from exaltation to abasement, from love to rape. After having evoked the equally detrimental repercussions of the female gaze when it reproduces the logic of domination (Medusa), the sacred narrative seems to open up, in its fi nal part, to another account of an allegedly adulterous woman (Jn, 7.53-8.11). By means of this intertextual inclusion the verbal texture of Tornabuoni’s Susanna operates to endow the female protagonist with a Christlike visual stance, one that holds the potential to subvert and transcend the dominance-submission dynamic.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lucrezia Tornabuoni, Susanna, male gaze, female gaze, patriarchal logic of domination
Subjects: Talijanistika
Departments: Department of Italian Language and Literature
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 07:37
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 07:37
URI: http://darhiv.ffzg.unizg.hr/id/eprint/4168

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