Book Launch - Netherlandish and Italian Female Portraiture in the Fifteenth Century

Thursday, February 9th, 2023 - 18:00

Toreno Book Launch Invite

Join us to celebrate the launch of Netherlandish and Italian Female Portraiture in the Fifteenth Century by Elisabetta Toreno. During this presentation, Elisabetta will share with you what the book tells about the characteristics of fifteenth-century female portraiture.

Come along with a glass of your favourite drink to help us end the event with a toast to the women who populate the book's catalogue.

Date and Time

Thursday 9th February, 2023

  • 1:00 PM US Eastern Time
  • 6:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time
  • 7:00 PM Central European Summer Time


Elisabetta Toreno, is Lecturer and scholar in Art & Cultural History and in Philosophy of Art. She teaches at the Open University and has affiliations with the University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Allison Levy, is Director of Brown University Digital Publications. She has authored or edited five books on early modern Italian visual and material culture.

Jill Harrison is a Lecturer and Research associate at the Open University. Her research is on Italian Trecento art and Northern networks between Scotland and Bruges.

About the Book

This book investigates the aesthetic and conceptual characteristics of fifteenth-century female portraiture on panel. Portraits of women increased substantially during this century. They formed part of a material and a visual culture borne out of the rapid rise of an oligarchy from entrepreneurial activities that was especially advanced in the urbanised territories of Italy and Flanders. For this reason, the portraits in this book are by Netherlandish and Italian painters. They are simultaneously illustrative of the emancipation of the genre from its medieval idiom, and of the responses to the matrix of patriarchy, under which society was organised. Patriarchy is an androcentric structure that places women in a paradoxical situation of legal and social disenfranchisement on the account of purported psychophysical inadequacy, whilst making them the catalysts, through arranged marriages, for the success of the spheres of power, which are controlled by men. Thus, these portraits are also a window into women’s lives in this structure. This book is the first systematic study of their sign-system and of the feminine experience of seeing and being seen, at the intersection of disciplines that include art history, anthropology, legal history, philosophy. The surprising results suggest new interpretations of form and function in female portraiture, women’s active role in the imaging process and the early instances of a pro-women ideology.


Registration (free) is required for this event: After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Attendees can take advantage of a 20% discount on the book with the code ET20, valid until 30th April 2023. For details, visit:

Related events

+ More events