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Courageous heroines and deceptive femmes fatales abound in the Old and New Testaments. Judith and Esther, Salome and Mary Magdalene, these women, perceived as dangerous to society shaped biblical history. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU presents Dangerous Women: Selections from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, a new exhibition that explores shifting perceptions of these historic characters, whose power to topple the strongest of male rulers made them “dangerous.”

While some were portrayed as saving their people, paragons of family goodness and repenting their sins for lives of virtue, others were portrayed as harlots and hussies, purveyors of sin, deadly temptresses and seductresses. Featuring spectacular and thought-provoking Old Master paintings from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the exhibition showcases more than twenty paintings and prints of women found in the Bible masterfully rendered by 16th and 17th-century artists, including: Pietro da Cortona, Fede Galizia, Pordenone, Giovanni Andrea Sirani and Francesco del Cairo. Many of these works are accompanied by Old Master prints and drawings, including Jan Saenredam’s series entitled Famous Women of the New Testament. The exhibition concludes with modern and contemporary works, including the sensuous Salome (1901) by Robert Henri and Portrait of Mamma Bush 1 (2010) by Mickalene Thomas.

This exhibition has been organized by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida, Florida State University, Sarasota, FL.

Join us for a panel discussion on feminism in art history and the lives of women in Renaissance society, on Saturday, February 17 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. followed by the opening reception.