GOTHIC PERIOD 1140 – 1500

The historical period of Gothic art emerged in the Late Middle Ages. Its beginning and its end in Europe differ from country to country. The name "Gothic" was coined by the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari calling the architecture "maniera dei Goti", "the style of the Goths".[1] The construction style changed: the bulky and heavy Romanesque style was dissolved and substituted by a transparent and gracefully built, architecture that reached up to God. In this period the fourth crusade took place, the inquisition initiated, people were afflicted by the pest. In Italy the Medici dynasty ascended, latin church was split, the arabs left Spain. Copperplate engraving technique was invented. Great poets, such as Alighieri and Petrarca created their famous works. The image of women in the Last Middle Age was influenced and determined by the church. Here it must be stated that it is not possible to provide any generally valid information about the position and the importance of women at that time. On the one hand, because sources concerning everday life are very rare. On the other hand there were regional differences in the European countries, even regarding women's life in the countryside and in the city. The church fathers, such as Ambrose or Augustine considered women as inferior beings. In their opinion the female sex was responsible for the fall of mankind, women were not equal to men, also because the woman was created of a man's rib. Church and thus the majority of the population considered sexuality as a sin. The woman was a wife and a mother and had to take care of household and children. So-called honourable women wore caps if they were married.[2] Prostitutes had to wear caps decorated with a yellow ribbon and were considered as "changeable" women.[3] Prostitution was tolerated and considered as necessary evil by the church. In the Middle Ages existed worehouses and prostitution was done in the streets as well. The women conducting this trade were not allowed to enter church squares.[4] Disreputable women had sexual relations before being married or illegitimate children. A man's reputation was not harmed, if he had sexual relations before marriage. From a juridical point of view women were inferior to men. If a woman owned property, it was her husband to manage it for her. The woman's clothing revealed to which social class she belonged to. A cloak or the already cited cap indicated if the woman wearing it was reputable or not.[5] In Christian pictography Mary is depicted as "Maria lactans" as breast feeding mother, or as "Mater dolorosa", as suffering Lady of Sorrows.

 10-24-Vulva Domkirche Stephan-Vorsch  10-25-Sheela-na-gig All Saints Church-Vorsch  10-26-Vulva weisende Nonne Saint Radegonde-Vorsch