This thesis is a close examination and analysis of the creation and reception of a group of eighteen Central Italian paintings of the Madonna with Eve presented reclining at her feet, images which draw on one of the fundamental themes of Mary's cult, her role as the Second Eve.\ud \ud Modern writers have sometimes been taken aback by these panels; in recent studies of women in history, Mary and Eve are often assumed to have been defining stereotypes of positive and negative feminine behaviour, and these works make a blatant juxtaposition of the two. Yet this imagery was obviously attractive to Trecento and Quattrocento patrons: this paradox lies at the heart of this thesis, which seeks to determine what these paintings might have meant to those who commissioned them and who first worshipped before them.\ud \ud To do so, this thesis begins by introducing the questions raised by the works; it then discusses textual and oral traditions linking Mary and Eve for Trecento and Quattrocento viewers, in order to suggest a range of possible associations for the imagery. There are then four case studies, intended to particularise the general themes of the pairing through specific images and contexts. The first focuses on Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes at the former Cistercian abbey of S. Galgano, which were created, it is suggested here, by a member of that community in Mary's honour. The next chapter looks at the political and eschatological implications of images of Mary's rule as the Second Eve in the Papal States, discussing frescoes in S. Agostino, Montefalco, S. Gregorio Maggiore, Spoleto, and the Camposanto in Pisa, as well as a panel attributed to Carlo da Camerion, now in Cleveland, Ohio
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