Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Aristotle Ridden by Phyllis (Aquamanile), late 14th Century

'That women are thought to hold power over men . . . and that it is sexual power, is made explicit in [artworks] depicting the "Power of Woman" topos. In Phyllis Riding Aristotle, a key representation, the august and wise philosopher is shown down on all fours, like a beast, a situation to which he has been brought by having lusted after Phyllis. It was men, during the Renaissance and baroque periods, who were considered to have the capacity for the highest forms of reason. The humiliation of Aristotle, paradigmatic man of reason, clearly conveys the dangers of women.'

H. Diane Russell