We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Passive Virtue and Active Valor: Carpaccio’s Two Ladies on an Altana above a Hunt


The work of painter Vittore Carpaccio throws new light on the gender ideals pervasive in Venetian society during the late fifteenth century. Recent conservation research has revealed that the artist’s most famous work, a rare domestic panel depicting two sumptuously attired women seated on a rooftop terrace or altana (Museo Correr, Venice) was, in fact, only the lower half of a painting whose upper portion depicted men hunting on the Venetian lagoon (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles). Yet scholars have continued to address the separated panels as if they each constituted an artistic whole, rather than addressing the complexities of the recomposed panel’s iconography. In this article, the entire painting is analyzed as a construction of contemporary notions of gender difference. The image is read as an accurate depiction of aspects of Venetian life, while also serving as an allegory of courtship through the representation of female passivity and virtue in contrast to male aggression in the midst of the hunt.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.