Uxor Brute

“Portia Wounding Her Thigh” by Elisabetta Sirani (1664) @ By Her Hand

Though the natural weakness of her body hinders her from doing what only the strength of men can perform, she has a mind as valiant and as active for the good of her country as the best of us.

Brutus, speaking of Portia

I personally struggle to get super-geeked about the plotting and effecting of the assassination of Julius Caesar (clearly there is something wrong with me), but I do find Portia’s piece of it — and the lingering questions about just how much her piece of it actually was — a lovely testament to how powerful and persuasive we so-called “weaker” creatures can be.

Inspired by the delicious story, yet another underappreciated female painter of the Renaissance era arises. Sirani’s gigantic (would have been floor to ceiling, were it not for the gallery’s insanely high ceilings) painting of the scene where Portia endeavors to prove her ability to be in the room where it happens is nothing short of captivating.

See the men, huddling and scheming and gnashing their proverbial teeth at what they are about to do.

See Portia, calmly, methodically, unerringly giving herself a makeshift “trial” so that she could give Brutus evidence that she is no kitten stuck up a tree somewhere. That he could indeed trust her to handle whatever he himself was handling.

She’s definitely my kind of woman, and I’m going to guess she was Sirani’s as well.

Shot on Pixel 6 Pro.

3 thoughts on “Uxor Brute

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