Welcome back to our weekly column! On the occasion of our Women's Wednesday, we will tell you the story of Varro's daughter, Marcia, a talented Roman artist.
Marcia was known and glorified for her unequaled ability to paint and carve images, surpassing renowned artists of her time like Sopolis and Dionysius. Preserving her virginity in order to retain the integrity of her mind, she also decided not to portray naked men. In fact, these would have either been imperfect because of her praised inexperience or they would have called into question her virtue. Therefore, her subjects were mostly representing women and herself. In particular, her self-portrait, realized with the help of a mirror, was so well-known to the public of her time that, looking at it, everyone would have recognized her!
“Marcia”, illumination from the manuscript “Cas des nobles hommes et femmes”, ms. Français 12420, f. 101v, 15h century, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Paris.