Drs. Andrea Pearson and Kim Butler Wingfield will present at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in New Orleans from March 22nd-24th. Dr. Butler will present a talk titled, “A Question of Lineage: The Dualism of Michelangelo’s Jewish Ancestors,” about the Sistine Chapel.
(Detail of Sistine Chapel ceiling)
Dr. Butler describes her research as such: “Christian exegetes had long grappled with questions of patriarchal and maternal lineage raised by the conflicting accounts of Christ’s ancestry in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In 1490, Ennius of Viterbo endeavored to reconcile these accounts by asserting that the former account privileged Christ’s royal, legal lineage through Joseph, the latter Christ’s corporeal lineage through Mary. This paper proposes that the intellectual advisor for the Sistine Ceiling program, likely Ennius’s compatriot, the budding Hebraist Giles of Viterbo, was familiar with this debate and that he, and Michelangelo, framed it critically in the dualistic representation of the Sistine Ceiling Ancestors. The issue of maternal lineage, in particular, complicates recent scholarship arguing the foregrounded ‘Jewishness’ of Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling Ancestors informed their primary function as emblems of vice—foils to the heroic bodies in the central narratives—while concurring that ultimately the images’ Christian theological premise insisted upon their ‘otherized’ bodies.”
Good luck at the conference, Drs. Pearson and Butler!