Video essay with graphic model 3D, 16:9, 24’28”

LVNATICA is a short draft of a book that I started to write few months ago. Its object of research is the interpretation of the “V” gesture in paintings realized by illustrious artist of Manerism in the territories of La Serenissima in the 16th century.
The iconographic apparatus stems form and then builds upon the text by Mauro Zanchi, Sotto il Segno di Diana. Tiziano, Palma il Vecchio e i misteri della Grande Dea (2015), but the arguments diverge from the original.

There is a disciplinary continuity of Ancient and Renaissance studies in Italy. This continuity was conserved during fascism, an ideology that implied also a modern iteration of the classical world. The post-war antiquities of the penninsula inherited certain exclusions in the dominant story of the Renaissance. Such erasures could be integral and fundamental aspects to comprehend the construction of the “ideology of the future.”

Can an ideology be detached from its predecessor?—2020-sara-benaglia



LVNATICA presents moments of doubts – found in specific images – towards the ideologies of language and classicism.

Language is question starting from a figurine studied by Marija Gimbutas that meet the Gutenberg Galaxy.

The reading of venetian Mannerist paintings opens a door to the voice of Carla Lonzi and the protocols designed by a male gaze for the women’s body. A specific gesture, that could be interpreted as a sign of freedom, doesn’t seem to pass the gate of classism. Black Studies give voice to the African presences in the Renaissance Venice.

The mnemonic system is a reactive system. It somehow detects an error when there is a lack of signifier coming from the institutionalized history of art.

The method of work is also derivative (or reactionary?) of what is emotion in a couple relationship, in particular when work too is involved into it. The first edition of this work is the book Sotto il Segno di Diana written by my partner Mauro Zanchi in 2015.

I use here the iconographic apparatus of that book to design a new direction through new interpretations and a tangent iconographic path.

In LVNATICA I apply a feminist reading to some paintings of the 15th century to criticize such images that could be, or have been, considered pathosformeln but that are not, since those images in the humanitarian context seemed to be representative of the universal world, while they are actually excluding those that belong to classes, races and gender considered inferior.

The same idea of archetypical image in Aby Warburg could be questioned in this respect (see the work of Henrik Olesen that goes in this direction, for example).

In LVNATICA the repletion of a gesture is the fundamental elements on which all the work depends. The use of the zoom, of details, of blurring or proximity take the viewer to the repetition while the voice guide the eye to see a conflict. Colonization and the memory of the Roman grandiosity are at the base of an history of negationism whose first step are written taking advantage of Warburg’s approach to image.

The reading of images was and is always the point of departure for finding contradictory details in the history that we know.


Bono, Salvatore. Schiavi. Una storia mediterranea (XVI-XIX secolo). Bologna 2016.

Ehenreich, Barbara and Deirdre English. Le streghe siamo noi. Il ruolo della medicina nella repressione della donna. Milano 1975.

Canfora, L., Ideologia del Classicismo, Torino 1980.

Federici, Silvia. Il calibano e la strega. Le donne, il corpo e l’accumulazione originaria. Sesto San Giovanni 2015.

Gimbutas, Marija. The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe. Myths and Cult Images. London 1974.

Lonzi, Carla. Sputiamo su Hegel e altri scritti. Milano 1974.

McLuha, Marshall. La galassia Gutenberg: nascita dell’uomo tipografico. Milano 1976.

Mignolo, Walter. The Dark Side of Renaissance. Ann Arbor 1995.

Spicer, Joaneath and Natalie Zemon Davis, Kate Lowe, Ben Vinson III. Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. Baltimore 2013.

Ventrella, Rosa. Honorata cortigiana. Cagliari 2011.

Zanchi, Mauro. Sotto il Segno di Diana: Tiziano, Palma il Vecchio e i misteri della Grande Dea. Bergamo 2015.

Willis, D. 2015, BLACK PORTRAITURE(S) II Conference: Imagining the Black Body and Restaging ‘Ornamental Blackness’ in History.  NYU’s Villa La Pietra, Firenze, 28-31 May 2015.