Date of Award

May 2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Tanya Tiffany

Committee Members

Sarah Schaefer


Saintly: Christian Women in Early Modern Europe is a written companion for a physical exhibition of the same name held at the UWM Mathis Gallery in the spring of 2024. The exhibition and accompanying catalog explore the relationship between laywomen and holy women from the Christian canon by examining depictions of the Virgin Mary and women saints in works from the 16th through 18th centuries. Despite gender-related obstacles, women still found ways to meaningfully engage with religious imagery, including through the veneration of other holy women. These ‘saintly’ female role models functioned as a template for appropriate behavior in both domestic life and devotional practice. This exhibition uses objects from the UWM Art Collection and other Wisconsin institutions to showcase the variety of forms in which this religious subject matter was depicted, including engravings, paintings, sculpture, and books. Particular focus is placed on how early modern women engaged with these objects, making sacred imagery directly relevant to their lives.