Lives of Female Saints in the Middle Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1365 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


The Lives of Female Slaves in the middle Ages

Introduction paragraph

The life of saints, especially female saints in the medieval ages draws attention from scholars, art critiques, and philosophers alike. This interest draws from the rich sources of art, written texts, and artifacts in national, religious, and private collections across the globe. Analysis of these artifacts is based on scholarly dimensions of philosophy, religion, sociology, culture, literature, law, or language. Of interest for this research is the Burges' late 15th century painting, "The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve," for it depicts events and saints.

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The research uses this artwork as a source of information to create understanding on the lives of saints in the middle ages.

Of interest are the social and religious lives of female saints, their association to food, nurturing, holiness, and the female body. To make this analysis, a comparison is made to the 1485-1540 painting, "The Holy Family," in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is because the painting is from the same era as the "The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve," which also depicts these aspects of the medieval saints.

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Description of the paintings:

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"The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve" from the last quarter of the 15th century, is associated with the legend of the Master of Saint Godelieve. The painting is oil on wood, 125.1 by 311cm when open, and 125.1 by 160.7cm when closed, and is on display in gallery 305 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting is reminisces the view to the middle ages for it is an altarpiece believed to have been commission by the Guild of the Load Bearers from Bruges of the Chapel of our Lady. The artwork is incredible for it shows the images of the saints Nicholas, Quirinis, Josse, and John the Baptist when closed, with two kneeling donors. The celebration of mass becomes visible on opening of the artwork.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Lives of Female Saints in the Middle Assignment

The symbolic representation of gender roles, relations, the body, and sexual functions. Anthropologists identify that women and men in the middle ages had different roles in copulation, eating, reproduction, relationships, and identities. In the "The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve," the artist depicts men in the form of the saints Nicholas, Quirinis, Josse, and John the Baptist and two kneeling donors. They do not have food offering like Godelieve does.

Women in the medieval times held a sense of self-control, self-definition, and autonomy through their role as nurturers, prayer, and caring.

The concept of food to female saints:

According to Counihan (1999) in The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power, women in the Middle Ages participated in spiritual and religious practices with rigor, using blood, hunger, and food as dominant images in the union with neighbors and God. Written text indicates that from the 13th century, female self-expression has used food as channel. This is evident in "The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve." In the second frame, one can see the maiden, Godelieve, giving and distributing food to the poor.

These women used food to assist and connect to God through the principle of giving. This is evident in "The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve," in the second panel where she holds a platter of food. The connection between God and food is shown in the second panel where Godelieve receives food from angles in answer to her prayers for a miracle.

For the Medieval woman, food was very important. It is indicated that the middle and Victorian ages, saw "bourgeois women use elaborate food preparation and consumption as a symbol of their social position and of love to their families."

Food was used by these women as a central focus in their identity with their families, society, and faith for they went beyond the important analogue of self.


Godelieve shows that the family, society, and her faith come first for she offers food to the poor and is constantly surrounded… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Lives of Female Saints in the Middle" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Lives of Female Saints in the Middle.  (2013, March 30).  Retrieved December 2, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Lives of Female Saints in the Middle."  30 March 2013.  Web.  2 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Lives of Female Saints in the Middle."  March 30, 2013.  Accessed December 2, 2021.