Deseando a la mujer fuerte. Presencias y ausencias de las mujeres fuertes del antiguo testamento en la pintura española del seiscientos

  1. Álvarez Seijo, Begoña
Supervised by:
  1. Juan Manuel Monterroso Montero Director
  2. Álvaro Pascual Chenel Co-director

Defence university: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Fecha de defensa: 18 March 2023

  1. Miguel Ángel Zalama Rodríguez Chair
  2. José Manuel García Iglesias Secretary
  3. Alejandra B. Osorio Committee member

Type: Thesis


The present work intends to study the iconographic presences and absences of the strong women of the Old Testament in Spanish painting made during the 17th century, understanding their iconographical lack as a direct product of a markedly patriarchal and closed society that relegated women to the background. Through the study of painting from a gender perspective, as a cultural construction, we can understand the models of masculinity and femininity that were imposed on the Spanish population in the Modern Age; models that have conditioned the way of thinking about gender and femininity, and whose inheritance could be traced to the present day. The lack of intelligence of women, their weakness of spirit, their nature prone to sin, were ideas that they tried to integrate as common sense of a mostly illiterate society and this, toge- ther with the compression of the image as an effective means of propaganda. cultural for the transmission of the values and ideals of the dominant patriarchal discourse, contributed to the Spanish painters carrying out an iconographic production that offered the models of feminine behavior that the masculine gender considered appropriate for women, censoring or self-censo- ring those who represented a threat to the beliefs imposed by the dominant ideology: those of strong and intelligent women. For this reason, this work, through, in the first place, will carry out an analysis of the con- ception of the nature of women and the behavioral roles imposed on the female gender, through the study of natural philosophy treatises, treatises for instruction of women –the work of Chris- tian humanists–, the treatises on painting and the female iconography that is the majority among Spanish painters, as it is accepted and imposed by the institutions in power that set the moral de- corum of the images; secondly, through the analysis of databases, it will try to understand what was the taste of the patrons or art collectors of the time, through the study of their inventories; and, thirdly, through the analysis of the iconographic presences that are preserved or of which there is news of strong Old Testament women produced by Spanish painters; this research aims to shed light on the reasons for the scarcity of Old Testament iconographies in seventeenth-cen- tury Spanish painting, and within this general scarcity, analyze the absences of some of these female figures of great importance in the Holy Scriptures and in the production culture of other countries during the same period, within a society where Catholicism was the glue used by the alliance between the Church and the Monarchy to hold together the vast Spanish territory.