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The Wild and Hairy Gonzales Family

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

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At least five members of the family of Petrus Gonzales, who lived at the French court and then at various Italian courts in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, were afflicted with a genetic abnormality that causes the body to be covered with hair. Physicians and scientists studied the hairy Gonzales children and their hairy father, and artists painted their portraits. Building on my book on the Gonzales sisters, The Marvelous Hairy Girls : The Gonzales Sisters and their Worlds, this paper examines the ways in which people living at the time understood and contextualized the male and female members of the Gonzales family. To most people, they evoked animals or animal hybrids, or else the wild folk that lived in Europe’s wilderness areas or across the sea. To a very few, they were simply humans with unwanted hair.

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1One afternoon in 1594, the Italian scientist, collector, and physician Ulisse Aldrovandi visited the home of a wealthy friend in Bologna. Among other visitors at the elegant home was Isabella Pallavicina, whose noble title was Marchesa of Soragna, a city near Bologna. With the marchesa was Antonietta Gonzales, the young daughter of Petrus Gonzales. Like her father and like most of her sisters and brothers, Antonietta Gonzales suffered from a genetic abnormality now known as hypertrichosis universalis, which meant much of her body was covered with hair. Aldrovandi studied the little girl carefully, and later noted that,

  • 1 Ulissa Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, (Bologna : Typic Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642 ; rpt. Paris : Bel (...)

The girl’s face was entirely hairy on the front, except for the nostrils and her lips around the mouth. The hairs on her forehead were longer and rougher in comparison with those which covered her cheeks, although these are softer to touch than the rest of her body, and she was hairy on the foremost part of her back, and bristling with yellow hair up to the beginning of her loins.1

2This report, along with woodcuts of Antonietta and other hairy members of her family, were included in Monstrorum Historia, an enormous catalog of human and animal abnormalities mostly written by Aldrovandi, though not published until 1642, long after his death. Two hairy girls are shown there, described there as age eight and age twelve. (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1 - Puella pilosa annorum octo alterius soror

Fig. 1 - Puella pilosa annorum octo alterius soror

in Ulissa Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, Bologna, Typic Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642.
http://www2.biusante.parisdescartes.fr/​img/​?refphot=21407&mod=s

3Aldrovandi’s friend Lavinia Fontana, a painter from Bologna known for her portraits of nobles and children, may have been at the house that day as well, for she later painted Antonietta’s portrait in oil, which now hangs in the castle of Blois in France. (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2 - Portrait d’Antonietta par Lavinia Fontana, Portrait de Tonetta, v. 1583. Musée de Blois.

Fig. 2 - Portrait d’Antonietta par Lavinia Fontana, Portrait de Tonetta, v. 1583. Musée de Blois.

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/​cf/​htm/​CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=7&FP=14945219&E=2K1KTSJ18RU5O&SID=2K1KTSJ18RU5O&New=T&Pic=4&SubE=2C6NU0SK0659

4In the painting, Antonietta holds a paper that gives details about her life : “Don Pietro, a wild man discovered in the Canary Islands, was conveyed to his most serene highness Henry the king of France, and from there came to his excellancy the Duke of Parma. From whom [came] I, Antonietta, and now I can be found nearby at the court of the Lady Isabella Pallavicina, the honorable Marchesa of Soragna.” Lavinia Fontana also drew a sketch in pencil of a little hairy girl, perhaps Antonietta, or perhaps her older sister Francesca, for she looks quite different than the girl in the oil painting.

5Some years before Aldrovandi and Fontana portrayed the young Gonzales sisters, other scholars and artists focused on their older sister Maddalena and their older brother Enrico. An unknown artist at the court of William V of Bavaria painted life-size portraits of Petrus, his non-hairy wife, and their two hairy children, a girl of about seven and a boy of about three. (Fig. 3)

Fig. 3 - Anonyme allemand, Maddalena (Madeleine) Gonzales, v. 1580. Wien, Château d’Ambras, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemaldegalerie

Fig. 3 - Anonyme allemand, Maddalena (Madeleine) Gonzales, v. 1580. Wien, Château d’Ambras, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemaldegalerie

http://www.flickr.com/​photos/​brad-darren/​11372604863/​in/​photostream/​

  • 2 Hoefnagl’s books of miniatures, Elementa depicta, are now in the library of the National Gallery of (...)

6William apparently gave these huge paintings to his uncle Ferdinand II, Archduke of Tyrol, who installed them in a portrait gallery at his summer palace, Schloss Ambras, near Innsbruck in the Alps. Ferdinand ordered copies of the paintings—and of hundreds of other portraits in his collection—made in miniature, storing them in several trunks. Here they can still be found, and the palace has given its name to the genetic condition, which is also known as “Ambras syndome.” The Flemish painter Joris Hoefnagel saw the paintings while he was William’s court painter in Munich, and made his own portraits in watercolor, which he eventually included as the only humans in a four-volume set of miniatures of animals.2 (Fig. 4 and 5)

7

Fig. 4 - Peter Gonzalez et sa femme, in Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate I, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art

Fig. 4 - Peter Gonzalez et sa femme, in Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate I, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art

http://www.nga.gov/​content/​ngaweb/​Collection/​art-object-page.69680.html

Fig. 5 : Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate II, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art

Fig. 5 : Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate II, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art

http://www.nga.gov/​content/​ngaweb/​Collection/​art-object-page.69691.html

8The Gonzaleses traveled to Basel, where the physician and anatomist Felix Platter examined two of the children, ordered pictures made of them, and later discussed them in a book of medical observations.

9Gazing down from the walls of Austrian or French palaces, or up from the pages of illustrated books of the world’s unusual creatures, the portraits of the Gonzales family are dramatic and arresting. The father and children are what later came to be exhibited at side-shows as freaks of nature — “dog-faced girls” or “lion-men” — but they are also courtiers and court-ladies of the Renaissance, in ruffs and doublets and expensive gowns. This double identity made them intriguing, both in their own day and today.

10Their genetic condition, though extremely rare—less than fifty cases have been documented world-wide since the sixteenth century—continues to be a source of fascination. In September 2006 Supatra Sasuphan, a young girl in Thailand with Ambras syndrome who is just about the age of Antonietta when she was examined by Aldrovandi, was featured on news reports around the globe. Fictional individuals with Ambras syndrome appear as well — as the main character in the 2001 film Blood Moon, as a supporting character in the 2006 biopic Fur about the legendary photographer Diane Arbus, and as a plot device in a recent episode of the American police drama “CSI,” featuring a young woman with Ambras syndrome who hid herself away in the Nevada desert.

11The story of the Gonzales family takes us from the father’s birth in the Canary Islands to their residence at the court of Henry II and Catherine de Medici in Paris to their move to the Farnese courts in Parma and Rome and finally to a small Italian village, where they finally disappear from history. Their condition led painters, physicians, and scientists to fit them into many different narratives : warnings about God’s judgment on the world, praise of the creative powers of nature, fantasies about a mother’s imagination, accounts of exotic wonders in far-away lands and speculations about the role of divine providence I’ve recounted this story in The Marvelous Hairy Girls : The Gonzalez Sisters and their Worlds, published by Yale University Press in 2009. For this article, I would like to draw from my work for that book and examine the ways in which those who saw the Gonzales family or their portraits understood the most dramatic things about them : their hairiness. To most people, they evoked animals or animals hybrids, or else the wild folk that lived in Europe’s wilderness areas or across the sea. To a very few, they were simply humans with unwanted hair. The ways in which people contextualized the Gonzales family were different for its male and female members, for hairiness in a girl or woman in the early modern era meant something quite different than hairiness in a man.

Animals

  • 3 Dispatch from Giulio Alvarotto, now in the state archives in Modena, and reprinted in Roberto Zappe (...)
  • 4 U. Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, op. cit., p. 16, 18.

12The hair of various members of the family was often compared with that of animals, as were the Gonzaleses themselves. On seeing the young Petrus Gonzales in Paris, a representative of the duke of Ferrara noted that, “the hair is of a light blond color and very delicate and fine, like the fur of a sable, and it smells good.”3 In the Monstrorum Historia, Aldrovandi describes Petrus Gonzales as “not less hairy than a dog,” and Antonietta’s skin as “similar to that of an unfledged bird.”4

  • 5 Ibidem.

13Aldrovandi was a collector as well as a scientist and author, with a cabinet of curiosities that eventually held more than 18,000 items arranged in huge display cabinets, including 8000 paintings done in watercolor and tempera by a group of artists commissioned by Aldrovandi and working under his direction, including Lavinia Fontana and several other female artists. Among the paintings of plants, animals, rocks, and exotic creatures are two portraits of one of the Gonzales sisters. In one, she looks exactly like Antonietta in Fontana’s portrait : a young woman with flowers in her hair, wearing a pink brocade dress and holding a piece of folded paper. We do not know if Lavinia Fontana did the tempera as well as the oil painting, but it is clear that one is copy of the other, or both are copies of a lost original. The caption on the tempera situates its subject very differently than does the paper on the oil painting, however. Instead of a reference to three different courts in which Antonietta or her family had lived, it says simply : “A hairy woman of twenty years whose head resembles a monkey, but who is not hairy on the rest of her body.” The artist had evidently not read Aldrovandi’s description of the actual little girl, which indicated that she was “bristling with yellow hair up to the beginning of her loins.”5 Her most important feature is thus her hairy head. A second tempera painting also shows a young woman with a hairy head, but in this one she is nude. The caption includes misspelled words, suggesting that artist who painted this was not a skilled Latinist, and it moves her even further from the human and into the realm of animals : “Monstrous female, whose face recalls that of a monkey.” In this she is no longer mulier, woman, but femina, female (or actually famina in the artist’s misspelling).

  • 6 Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 (New York : Zone Boo (...)
  • 7 Joyce E. Salisbury, The Beast Within : Animals in the Middle Ages (New York : Routledge, 1994) ; Er (...)

14Thus for some, the hairiness of the Gonzales family made them clearly animals, while others were not sure how to classify them. This variety is not surprising, as they and their portraits arrived in European courts at a point where such distinction were being contested. To provide a brief recap. In the ancient Greek and Germanic worlds, the boundaries between humans and animals were fluid ; gods and heroes change into animals, often having sex with human women while they are in animal form. Early Christianity, however, sharply separated humans and animals, viewing animals primarily as property or food rather than exemplars, and introducing laws prohibiting bestiality. By the twelfth century, this Christian paradigm of a sharp split between humans and animals began to break down again, and people seemed less sure of the distinction. Animals that seemed close to humans, such as monkeys and apes, and human/animal hybrids appeared more often in art and stories, reflecting concerns that there might be intermediate categories rather than one clear line. The thirteenth-century philosopher Albertus Magnus, in fact, proposed three categories of beings in creation —humans, animals, and “man-like creatures,” a category in which he placed apes and Pygmies, both of whose existence he knew about not directly, but from reading ancient authors. The “monstrous races” described in the writings of the ancient Roman author Pliny might be in this third category as well, he speculated.6 As often happens in such situations, the laws that set humans apart from animals actually became more stringent, as people attempted to shore up a boundary line that they thought should be firm but feared was not. Bestiality moved from a minor sin to the worst of all sexual sins, and trials and punishments increased.7 Stories about animal/human hybrids in the Middle Ages were not tales of wise centaurs as they had been in ancient Greece, but of “unnatural” and “abominable” intercourse between human and animals that resulted in monstrous creatures. They were thus a visible sign of an invisible sin.

  • 8 L. Daston and K. Park, Wonders..., op. cit.
  • 9 John Woolton, A newe Anatomie of the whole man…(London : Thomas Purfoote, 1576), cited in Fudge, Br (...)

15Aristotle provided guidance for how to think about the difference between humans and animals, as he did on so much else. He held that there are three kinds of “souls” among living beings, vegetative, sensible, and rational. Plants had only the vegetative, animals the vegetative and sensible, and only humans all three.8 Christian understandings modified Aristotle, but continued to focus on reason as the key difference. Reason was given to humans by God, and not destroyed by the sin of the Fall, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. As John Woollton, the Bishop of Exeter, wrote in 1576, “This knowledge of reason, as the Philosophers call it, was not altogether extinct in man’s ruin. For it was God’s good pleasure, that there should yet be some difference between reasonable man and brute beasts.”9

  • 10 John Moore, A Mappe of Mans Mortalitie, (London, 1617), p. 43.

16Alongside this confident trumpeting of difference there were also some doubts, however. What about children ? If reason is a natural and God-given quality that separates humans from animals, why do humans have to be trained to use it ? Are children truly human, or are they animals ? As the English clergyman John Moore wrote in 1617, “What is an infant but a brute beast in the shape of a man ? And what is a young youth but (as it were) a wild untamed ass-colt unbridled ?”10 If any infant or youth could blur the distinction between animal and human, the Gonzales children did so even more dramatically.

  • 11 George Gascoigne, A delicate Diet, for daintie mouthde Droonkardes (London, 1576), iv, cited in Fud (...)

17Not only did the behavior of children reveal problems in the human/animal distinction, but so did that of adults. Even those who had been trained to use their reason and so had become fully human might lapse and let the passions again decide their actions. Doing this was generally described in animal terms : people “descended to the realm of the beasts” or “let their inner beast emerge.” Alcohol offered an easy way for this to happen, for, as the English soldier and poet George Gascoigne put it, “All drunkards are beasts.”11

  • 12 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. the English Dominican Fathers (New York : Benzigen Brother (...)
  • 13 Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, in Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis : Concordia (...)
  • 14 Dorothy Leigh, The Mother’s Blessing, London, 1637, p. 38-9 and 44.

18Sexual passion was an even more powerful transformer of men into beasts, of course. Thomas Aquinas said it bluntly : “in sexual intercourse man becomes like a brute animal.”12 Martin Luther agreed : “through lust the body becomes downright brutish and cannot beget in the knowledge of God.”13 To many authors, women who lust were particularly animalistic. As Dorothy Leigh, the author of The Mother’s Blessing, an English advice manual for women that went through many printings in the seventeenth century, put it : “The Woman that is infected by the sin of uncleannes, is worse than a beast, because it desireth but for nature, and shee, to satisfy her corrupt lusts…let women be persuaded by this discourse, to embrace chastity, without which, we are meere beasts, and no women.”14

  • 15 The History of the Life of Katherine de Medici, Queen Mother and Regent of France (London, 1693), n (...)

19Women did not have to be especially lustful to descend to the realm of the beasts, however. Throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period, in sermons, poetry, and many other texts, women were often compared to animals. Women were like horses, for both needed to be made obedient with a whip, went a common saying. A virtuous wife is like a snail, for she never leaves her house. A wicked wife is a venomous snake. Hans Sachs’ poem, The Nine Skins of a Bad Wife, which retold a popular story and was itself read and recited widely, the wife has nine layers of skin, eight of which have the properties of certain animals, such as a bear, cat, fish, pig, and dog. These must be beaten off before her human skin can be reached, which her husband does with various implements. Women who had power were particularly beastly ; Catherine de Medici, the queen of France at whose court the Gonzales family lived, was considered a tyrant “who holds us between her paws.”15

  • 16 Democrates secundus, translated and cited in Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man : The American (...)

20Comparisons of women to animals are so common that they show up as proof when authors are trying to make a point about something else. In a debate held in Vallodolid in 1550-1551 about whether Native Americans could legitimately be enslaved, the Spanish scholar and theologian Juan de Sepúlveda asserted that the Indians were “as inferior to the Spaniards as children are to adults, women are to men, the savage and ferocious to the gentle, the grossly intemperate to the continent and temperate, and finally, almost as monkeys are to men.”16 Sepúlveda’s argument was made just about the time that Petrus Gonzales was brought to the French court, and contained a whole series of binaries at structured people’s thinking about many issues. In most of these binaries, the Gonzales children were the inferior of the pair : they were children, their background was colonial and “savage,” and their faces looked, to some observers, like those of monkeys. And the Gonzales sisters were the inferior in yet another binary : they were female. Thus though all women were less human than men because they had lesser rational capacity — a point which Sepúlveda (and everyone else) took from Aristotle and Aquinas — the Gonzales sisters were further along the scale toward animals.

  • 17 Charlotte F. Otten, ed., Werewolves in Western Culture : A Lycanthropy Reader (Syracuse : Syracuse (...)

21The line between humans and animals could also be crossed by shape-shifting, which appeared in stories and illustrations more often after the twelfth century. Of these shape-shifters, werewolves were the most feared. Chroniclers and travel-writers reported werewolf attacks in forests and wild areas, and illustrated pamphlets spread stories of lycanthropy. While Petrus Gonzales was in Paris, the case of Gilles Garnier, the so-called “Werewolf of Dôle,” became a sensation. According to trial testimony, Garnier stalked and killed several children, eating parts of them. He claimed to have made a pact with the devil, who gave him an ointment turning him into a wolf, and to have hunted and eaten the children while in wolf form.17 Garnier was burnt at the stake for both witchcraft and lycanthropy. Gilles Garnier cannot have been far from the minds of those who saw Petrus and his children, despite their courtier’s clothing.

Wild Folk

  • 18 Joris Hoefnagel, “Ignis : Animalia Rationalia et Insecta,” National Gallery, Washington, D.C., unpa (...)
  • 19 Roberto Zapperi, Der wilde Mann von Tenerifa, Der wilde Mann von Tenerifa : Die wundersame Geschich (...)
  • 20 Richard Bernheimer, Wild Men in the Middle Ages : A Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology (Cambri (...)

22Animals were one framework through which people understood the Gonzales family, and wild folk provided a second. “Wild” is the most common adjective used to describe Petrus Gonzales. In Joris Hoefnagl’s emblem book, Petrus is described as having “wild ways,” and in Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum Historia as a “fifty-year-old wild man, born in the Canary Islands.”18 In 1547, the duke of Ferrara’s envoy in Paris noted that Petrus was “completely hairy on his face for all his life, exactly like the paintings of wild men of the woods.”19 To what was he referring ? According to many stories from all over Europe, wild folk slept in caves or hollows in trees, ate food they had gathered or animals they had hunted, devouring this raw. Sometimes these wild folk had begun life as normal people, but had left civilization, growing progressively hairier the longer they were away. Most wild men were thought to be violent and fearsome, attacking travelers with clubs or uprooted trees, snatching children, and howling with rage.20 In medieval chivalric romances, bold knights rescue fair maidens from their clutches, just as they save them from the claws of dragons. In their actions and hairiness wild men were similar to werewolves, although these were two different types of beings in people’s minds.

  • 21 Timothy Husband, The Wild Man : Medieval Myth and Symbolism (New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art, (...)

23Not all wild folk were dangerous, however. Some were revered as saints, such as John the Baptist, who lived in the wilderness, dressed in skins, and grew his hair and beard long. Wild men included solitary hermits who had dedicated themselves to God, their hair a covering against the elements provided by divine power as a blessing. Saint Onuphrius, for example, was thought to have been a king’s son from the fourth century who spent most of his life living in a cave. He lived on dates and bread that appeared miraculously, and as his clothes wore away, shaggy hair grew to replace them.21

24Both terrifying and saintly wild folk were described in stories told to children, epics and romances recited at court and read by the fireside, and books of saints’ lives. They were shown in sculpture, paintings, stained glass, tapestries, and on dishes, chests, drain downspouts, and playing cards. They were in the margins of books, on choir stalls in churches, and on cathedral doors. Everywhere people looked, they saw hairy wild people. Images of wild men became even more common in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when Europeans were coming into contact with people they regarded as “wild” in Africa and the Americas.

  • 22 Wilhelm Müller, “Der Nürnberger Schembartlauf : Herkunft und Deutung,” Archiv für die Geschichte vo (...)
  • 23 Kathleen Basford, The Green Man (London : D. S. Brewer, 2004).

25Sometimes these shaggy folk were alive. Village festivals and city carnivals included wild men in costumes made of hair or rope, who terrified the crowds by roaring and beating at them with sticks. In Nuremberg, this carnival, called the Schembartlauf, got so raucous that the city council banned it in 1524. An attempt to bring it back a decade later was even more unruly and destructive, with costumed wild men shooting off fireworks toward the houses of city leaders.22 That was the end of the Schembartlauf, although other towns have maintained their festivals, complete with wild men, until today. In England, a leaf-clad figure representing human links with nature, later dubbed the “green man,” walked in city processions and fought men costumed as knights.23 (He has been resurrected in recent years for a variety of purposes : as a figure of pre-Christian paganism, a link to Merry Olde Englande for tourists, and a symbol of environmental awareness.) In Germany, Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol—in whose castle stood several paintings of the Gonzales family—rode into the city of Vienna accompanied by a very large courtier dressed in animal skins, swinging a club, and yelling that he was a giant.

  • 24 Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España, 607, quoted in Rog (...)

26The wild man was such a common part of festivals that Europeans even took him across the sea. In 1538, the Spanish conquerors of Mexico decided to hold a festival celebrating a peace treaty between Spain and France. They built a forest in the main square of Mexico City (where the Aztec temples had been earlier), stocked it with animals, and staged a battle between two groups of hairy wild men, one armed with sticks and one with bows and arrows. The chronicler Bernal Díaz del Castillo reported that the trees seemed “so natural that they might have grown there from seed…with weeds that seemed to grow out of them” and that the Spanish inhabitants of the city were amazed at the spectacle.24 We can only imagine what the Aztecs who were watching might have thought.

27Although living depictions of wild men were sometimes judged as a threat to orderly city life, artistic images grew increasingly positive in the sixteenth century. Noble families and urban groups began to celebrate wild men and women not for their holiness, but for their physical strength, endurance, and freedom from the rules of society. Wild men with clubs were included on the coats-of-arms of more than two hundred families in Europe, mostly in German-speaking areas. Inns and taverns were named “The Wild Man,” and their painted signs showed the common scene of a hairy man with a club. In the Swiss city of Basel, men from various occupations formed a special men’s club Zur Haaren—literally “to hairiness !”—and decorated their meeting place with paintings of wild men. The club included many prominent men, including associates of the city doctor Felix Platter, who examined the Gonzales children. The artist Hans Holbein, later famous for his portraits of kings and queens, was working in Basel at the time. Holbein was the friend of the members of Zur Haaren, and designed a wild man emblem for them (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6 : Hans Holbein Le Jeune, Homme sauvage brandissant un tronc d’arbre déraciné, sans date. Dessin. London, The British Museum.

Fig. 6 : Hans Holbein Le Jeune, Homme sauvage brandissant un tronc d’arbre déraciné, sans date. Dessin. London, The British Museum.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/​research/​collection_online/​collection_object_details/​collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=163330&objectId=720898&partId=1

28Holbein’s wild man includes standard features — mountains in the background and a club in his hand — but he is framed by classical pillars, and his body hair is not long enough to hide his well-defined muscles. The wild man has become a Renaissance ideal.

  • 25 Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalen : Myth and Metaphor (London : Riverhead Trade, 1994) ; Franco Mormando (...)

29The issue for women is more complicated, however. There were, of course, stories of saintly wild women : Everyone knew about Mary Magdalene, whose life story became more elaborate over the centuries. According to the standard story, Mary and some companions, set adrift by heartless non-believers in a boat without a rudder, landed in southern France. She preached to the local people, winning many converts, and then lived alone in a cave, doing penance for her formerly sinful life. Mary’s body became covered with hair, sometimes shown as beautiful flowing strands and sometimes as rough fur.25 She became a model for legends of other saintly women whose hair helped protect their honor, making them unattractive to any would-be attacker.

30One of these was a female saint whose life was first described in the fourteenth century, usually called St. Wilgefortis or St. Uncumber. As the story goes, Wilgefortis was the Christian daughter of a pagan king of Portugal who wanted to escape an arranged marriage. She prayed for a miracle, and God caused hair to grow all over her face. This made her fiancé reject the marriage, and her father had her crucified ; depictions of St. Wilgefortis usually show a bearded figure with long hair on a cross wearing an ankle-length tunic. (Fig. 7)

31

Fig. 7 : Sainte Wilgeforte sur sa croix, gravure sur bois de Hans Burgkmair, Augsbourg, v. 1507.

Fig. 7 : Sainte Wilgeforte sur sa croix, gravure sur bois de Hans Burgkmair, Augsbourg, v. 1507.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Burgkmair_Kuemmernis.JPG

  • 26 Ilse E. Friesen The Female Crucifix : Images of St. Wilgefortis Since the Middle Ages (Waterloo, On (...)

32Where did the legend of St. Wilgifortis come from ? The official Catholic position, shared by many art historians, is that it arose from a misunderstanding about a famous crucifix in the Italian city of Lucca. This crucifix, known as the Holy Face, was an important object of veneration in the Middle Ages, and had its own legend of origin. According to that tradition, the crucifix was carved by Nicodemus, one of the men who helped bury Christ, and its features were exactly those of Jesus. The crucifix was buried for centuries, and was then transported to Italy in a boat with no sails and to Lucca in an ox-cart with no driver, arriving there in 742. The historical record of the Holy Face crucifix begins in about 1100, when the cathedral that housed it became an increasingly popular center of pilgrimage. Pilgrims chipped off pieces of the crucifix in order to gain a bit of its power and have holy relics, hacking off so much that a new one had to be carved in the thirteenth century. Large and small copies were made, and some of these became associated with miracles as well. As these images were carried around Europe, people were confused by the long dress of the figure on the crucifix, and invented their own stories to explain what this was : not Christ, but Wilgefortis, a bearded woman on a cross.26

  • 27 Thomas More, A Dialogue of Sir Thomas More Knight, quoted in Mark Albert Johnston, “Bearded Women i (...)

33Whether this is the actual origin of the Wilgefortis legend or not, by the fifteenth century it had spread around Europe, and she became a popular saint, especially with women. She was known by different names in different parts of Europe : Uncumber in England, Kümmernis in Germany, Ontkommer in the Netherlands, Liberata in Italy, and many more. Many of these names come from words referring to “freeing” something, and she was an especially favorite saint of women who wished to free themselves of abusive husbands. (“Uncumber” in English is an old form of “disencumber.”) Learned opinion of her cult was often dismissive, and charged that women prayed to her when they wished to be rid of any husband, not just violent ones. Thomas More commented in 1529 that “women hath therefore changed her name, and instead of Saint Wilgefortis call her saint Uncumber, because they think that she will not fail to uncumber them of their husbands.”27 With the Reformation in England, icons of St. Uncumber were smashed and burned, but she remained popular on the continent and was included in the official list of Roman Catholic saints in 1583. (She was removed from this list, along with many saints whose historical existence is doubtful, such as St. Valentine, in 1969.)

34Devotion to St. Wilgefortis was especially strong in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where many of the pictures of the Gonzalus family were made and Felix Platter examined the children. Thus when people saw the children, and particularly when they saw the girls, they may have been reminded of the images of St. Wilgefortis that were in their churches or that they carried in their pockets. Devotion to the hairy Magdalene was also widespread in these areas, so people may have been reminded of her as well.

  • 28 Husband, Wild Man, op. cit., p. 64.

35There were other tales of wild hairy women in Europe besides those about saints. In the medieval German epic Wolfdietrich, the hero—who had earlier been saved by a pack of wolves from being killed at the order of his father—encounters Raue Else, a wild woman who runs on all fours toward his fire. She “had a body covered with a thick hairy pelt, slimy and wet like the bride of the devil” and demands that Wolfdietrich love her.28 He refuses, she turns him into a wild man, he promises to marry her if she will become a Christian, she does, and she then turns back into her former self, a smooth-skinned princess.

36Like those of wild men, depictions of wild women became more positive during the sixteenth century, even those who did not magically turn into princesses. On stained glass windows and drinking cups, wild women held up shields with coats-of-arms, often nursing a baby at the same time. Their hair did not interfere with their motherly nurturing as they offered protection and strength to the noble family whose shield they displayed.

  • 29 The most up-to-date general survey on European witchraft is Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Earl (...)

37Destructive hairy women did not disappear from the sixteenth-century imagination, however, but emerged in a new form : as witches. In the Spanish play La Celestina, and in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, women who are witches are described as bearded. Witches did not need facial hair to make them seem evil, however, for the long, unruly hair on their heads was enough. Witches’ uncovered hair was a sign of their uncontrolled sexuality, and hinted at their demonic lovers. Witches are often shown with animal companions (who might be demons in disguise), and their hair blends into that of the animal as they ride goats through the darkness or nuzzle cats. According to the demonology that underlay beliefs about witchcraft, these animals might be demons in disguise.29 Even if they were not, showing naked witches in close contact with animals suggested sexual relations between them, and placed witches within the realm of the beasts. When people saw the Gonzales girls or their portraits, they had witches in their heads as well as Mary Magdalene.

  • 30 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Translated by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass (...)
  • 31 The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, trans. C.W.R.D. Moseley (London : Penguin Books, 2004), p. 137 (...)

38In the European imaginary, hairy wild folk could be found not only in nearby forests and hills, but also across the sea. Pliny’s Natural History, copied and recopied throughout the Middle Ages and then published in many editions, described monstrous races in distant parts of the world, including, “the Choromandae, a forest tribe that has no speech but a horrible scream, hairy bodies, keen grey eyes, and the teeth of a dog... [and] the Astomi tribe, that has no mouth and a body hairy all over ; they dress in cottonwool and live only on the air they breathe and the scent they inhale through their nostrils.”30 John Mandeville’s Travels, a book purporting to be by an English knight who had traveled in the East, told of “people who walk on their hands and their feet like four-footed beasts : they are hairy and climb up trees as readily as apes.” Further on his voyage was “another isle, where the people are covered in feathers and rough hair, except for the face and the palm of the hand.”31

39Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum Historia brings up these stories when it first introduces the Gonzales family, in the opening section of the book about differences among humans around the world :

  • 32 Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, pp. 16-17. For other ways in which Aldrovandi situated the Gonzale (...)

Finally hair and pelts offer us a difference ; for John Mandeville describes a certain island whose inhabitants grow thick hair on their hands and face, and Pigafetta describes the men of the island Buthuan as hairy, fierce, and man-eating. Next, since we can at present disregard the wild men recounted by Pliny and in Solinus, we will consider those whom Peter Martyr discusses. He left to posterity an account that wild men are found in the province of Guacaiarina, who inhabit rough and humble caves, live on forest fruits, and never have any contact with the other inhabitants of the island ; in fact, even when they are captured and treated well they are never able to become tame, since they are believed to know neither government nor laws. Likewise, on a Spanish island subject to the British king there is an almost boundless number of wild men, who wish to enter into no kind of contact with those who live beside the sea. A certain man brought part of a wild man’s pelt to the most excellent Ulisse Aldrovandi (which is still kept in the museum of the most illustrious Bolognese Senate), and brought it back to be worn as a ring for patients suffering convulsions, to their great advantage.
This wild kind of man was first seen at Bologna when the most illustrious Marchesa of Soragna was received by the most illustrious man Mario Casali, for she brought with her an eight-year-old hairy girl, the daughter of a fifty-year-old wild man, born in the Canary Islands…”32

40This is followed by Aldrovandi’s detailed observations of Antonietta quoted at the beginning of this article.

  • 33 Ibid., p. 20.

41Pigafetta in this section is Antonio Pigafetta, the Venetian diplomat who traveled with Ferdinand Magellan on his voyage westward in 1521 and whose journal recorded the voyage. Peter Martyr is Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, an Italian scholar and diplomat hired by the Spanish monarchy in the early sixteenth century to serve as a historian of the Spanish conquests. Martyr collected letters and reports from many explorers, and interviewed some personally, publishing a series of accounts of the discoveries and descriptions of various native peoples in the Americas. Aldrovandi uses these traveller’s stories as an introduction to his actual examination of Antonietta Gonzales, and the editor of the book adds a note that Aldrovandi’s collection contained an actual skin (believed to cure convulsions) as well as the illustrations of the hairy family. His description of the little girl is followed by a section on another hairy race, the wild “Cinnaminian people” who “have both a long beard and hair on their whole body” and raise dogs to guard them from “great numbers of cattle that constantly enter their homeland.”33

  • 34 Pierre d’Ailly, Imago Mundi, translated by Edwin F. Keever (Wilmington, NC : privately published, 1 (...)
  • 35 Josine H. Blok, The Early Amazons : Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth, tr. Peter (...)

42Along with stories of hairy folk of both sexes in far-away lands, people also knew tales of hairy women. From Greek mythology came the story of the Gorgons, female monsters with writhing snakes as hair who turned anyone who looked at them into stone. The Gorgons were thought to live somewhere in the west, and so when Pliny told about hairy women living on Atlantic Islands, he called these women “Gorgades,” which means Gorgon-like ones. Pierre d’Ailly repeats Pliny’s story in his Imago Mundi, an encyclopedic account of the inhabitants of the world written in the fifteenth century : “The Gorgodes Islands of the ocean… are inhabited by the Gorgodes, women of destructiveness, with coarse and hairy bodies.”34 Columbus had d’Ailly’s book as well as Pliny’s in his sea chest on his first voyage, although he does not seem to be as keen on finding Gorgades as he is on finding Amazons. (Amazons were thought to be muscular, but not hairy.35)

43Sadly (in the eyes of European explorers), such hairy people remained rumors told about other groups, not realities. On his voyage with Magellan, Antonio Pigafetta never actually saw a hairy human ; he had simply heard about people called “Benaian, the hairy” (which Aldrovandi records as “Buthuan”) from a captive on another island.36 Both Columbus and Vespucci mention the lack of body hair among indigenous residents of the Americas, and Vespucci notes further “they hold hairiness to be a filthy thing.”37

  • 38 Michael Cooper, et al., The Southern Barbarians : The First Europeans in Japan (Tokyo : Kodansha In (...)

44With their bristling beards and often extensive body hair, European men were actually far more hairy than most of the people they encountered on their voyages. In fact, hairiness (along with smelling bad and a lack of manners) became part of the stereotype of Europeans in East Asia, part of what made them, to Chinese and Japanese eyes, “barbarians.”38

  • 39 Will Fisher, “The Renaissance Beard : Masculinity in Early Modern England,” Renaissance Quarterly 5 (...)
  • 40 Will Fisher, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (Cambridge : Cambr (...)

45When confronted with the paradox of their own hairiness, European men reinterpreted the meaning of male body and facial hair. Instead of judging Asians and Native Americans to be less animalistic because they had less hair, they judged them to be less masculine39 “To hairiness !” was in some ways the motto of sixteenth-century European masculinity more broadly and not simply one men’s club in Basel.40 Most adult men who are not members of the clergy have facial hair of some type in sixteenth-century portraits, usually beards of various shapes and lengths. This marked them as distinct from adolescents, and so as mature members of society. It also marked them, of course, as distinct from women.

  • 41 Bolzani’s’s work appeared in an anonymous English translation, ascribed to one “Johan Valerian, a g (...)
  • 42 John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis : Man Transform’d, or the Artifical Changeling (London, 1654), p (...)
  • 43 Ibidem.

46Beards were increasingly defended in learned treatises. The Italian cleric and scholar Piero Valeriano Bolzani argued in a short work that this sign of masculinity should be allowed to male members of the clergy. “Nature,” Bolzani argued, “has made women with smooth faces, and men rough and full of hair… …Therefore whosoever, by any craft of business, goes about to make a man beardless, it may be said to his charge that he has done against the laws of Nature. . . it beseems men to have long beards, for chiefly by that token (as I have often said) the vigorous strength of manhood is discerned from the tenderness of women.”41 The English physician and natural philosopher John Bulwer agreed, commenting that, “the beard is the sign of man…by which he appears a man… Shaving the chin is justly to be accounted a note of Effeminacy,” and those “who expose themselves to be shaved are called, in reproach, women.”42 His comment appeared in a long work, Anthropometamorphosis : Man Transform’d, or the Artifical Changeling attacking, as its full title noted, the “mad and cruel Gallantry, foolish Bravery, ridiculous Beauty, filthy Fineness, and loathesome Loveliness of most Nations” for “ fashioning and altering their Bodies from the Mould intended by Nature.”43 We cannot know if any of the Gonzales men ever shaved, or if they followed Bolzani’s and Bulwer’s advice and left themselves as Nature made them.

  • 44 Will Fisher, “The Renaissance Beard : Masculinity in Early Modern England,” Renaissance Quarterly 5 (...)

47Shortly after the Gonzales family moved to Italy, the learned physician Marcus Antonius Ulmus published Physiologia Barbae Humanae (1602) in Bologna, a three-hundred page book providing the opinions of “illustrious doctors and philosophers” from many centuries on beards. As did other medical authors at the time, Ulmus linked the growth of facial hair with sexual potency44 ; he would not have been surprised that Petrus Gonzales fathered at least seven children.

  • 45 Bolzani, A treatise which is Intitled in Latin Pro Sacredotum Barbis (London, 1533), f. 10r .
  • 46 John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis, op. cit., p. 215.

48Because most adult men in early modern Europe had visible body hair and wore beards, Petrus’s hairiness and that of his two hairy sons was a matter of degree. Most women, however, whether from nearby or beyond the sea, did not have extensive facial or body hair, so the hairiness of the Gonzales sisters was particularly striking. Because most people saw them in dresses, they may have thought they were bearded rather than hairy, but facial hair alone was enough to hint at the monstrous. Bolzani’s treatise also includes a few comments about beards on women : “Nature has made women with smooth faces…[so] it has ever been a monstrous thing to see a woman with a beard, [even] though it is very little,” he wrote.45 John Bulwer agreed, commenting that, “woman is by nature smooth and delicate ; and if she have many hairs she is a monster.”46 The Gonzales sisters, of course, had many hairs, far more than a bearded woman.

Unwanted Hair

49Comparisons with animals or with wild folk were the most common means through which people understood the Gonzales family, but one of the two scientists who examined some of the children put them in a very different framework. On their way from Paris to the Parma courts in Italy, several members of the Gonzales family stopped in Basel. Here Felix Platter was the city physician, and a professor at the renowened university medical school. Among the many medical examinations contained in Observationes, his three-volume book of cases, was the following, worth quoting at length :

  • 47 Felix Platter, Observationum Felicis Plateri… libri tres, Basilea 1680, Lib. III, p. 572.

Some hairy and exceedingly hirsute men
It is commonly believed that there are men among the savages with hairy skin on their whole body surface, except for the tip of the nose, the front part of the knees, buttocks, palms, and soles of the feet, as they are usually described. But we can understand that this is false, based on the following. Cosmographers, who described the whole world, never mention these men, although they never forget the fiercest of peoples, like Amazons, Cannibals, Americans, and others, who walk naked yet are not hairy and shave their naturally growing hair. This, instead, is true : There are humans of both sexes, especially males, whose legs, arms, chest and face are shaggy, with long hair, and I know and have seen several of those individuals.
In Paris there was one of those men, exceptionally hairy in his whole body, very dear to King Henry II and attending his court, with his whole body covered in long hair, and his face all covered as well, except for a small part under the eyes, with eyebrows and hair on the forehead so long that he had to pull it up to be able to see.
After marrying a hairless woman, similar to other women, he had by her some children, hairy as well, who were sent to the Duke of Parma in Flanders. I saw them, with their mother, a nine-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, in Basel in 1583, while they were in the process of being sent to Italy, and I made sure to have them portrayed. They were hairy in the face, especially the boy, a little less the girl, whose dorsal region along the vertebra of her spine was exceedingly hairy.
After all, since we have hair in each pore of the body, as we explained in the Anatomy, it’s no wonder that in some people, as in many animals, their hair is longer and continuously grows, like fingernails. It is strange, instead, that in some parts where it grows, it maintains the same length, like in the eyebrows, while in other parts it is so much shorter that it is barely visible. In fact, though, not even the palms [of these people] are hairless, as can be seen in the youth ; instead, because the hair is short and continuously shaved, the hand just appears balder.47

50Platter was a careful observer, of his medical cases and of the world around him. His Observationes includes thousands of cases of all types of medical problems and abnormalities, some that Platter had only heard or read about, but many that he had himself seen and attended. Like all records of the Gonzales family, Platter’s examination of the Gonzales children is frustratingly brief ; he notes that he had them portrayed, which meant he hired an artist, but the illustration has not survived.

  • 48 For more on Platter’s upbringing, see The Marvelous Hairy Girls, p. 189-197, and also Beloved Son F (...)

51Platter’s case history actually reveals more about Platter than it does about the children (but so do all of the other reports as well). He views the Gonzales children through calm and dispassionate eyes, with an interest in human diversity forged when he was a young man staying in a Catalan converso household in Montpellier while he studied medicine there.48 People are wrong, he says, when they think that hairy people only exist among the savages. Instead excess hairiness was possible anywhere, for “we have hair in every pore of our body.” We have hair, he says, not they have hair. The Gonzales children are part of the human family, and what is interesting to Platter is why hair grows differently in various parts of the body among any human, not just them. Among non-hairy humans hair grows longer in the eyebrows than in the rest of the face, while in the Gonzales children it was the reverse, he observes.

52In his medical observations, Platter does not put the Gonzales children among animals or wild folk, but among people who have unwanted hair. Their hairiness was a cosmetic matter, not a condition that determined the children’s place along the spectrum from beast to savage to civilized. In the very next entry in Observations, he discusses “appearance of hairs on the forehead” :

  • 49 F. Platter, Observationum..., op. cit., p. 572.

Polonus, a certain noble soldier, in the year 1599 wished that some kind of depilatory ointment would be given to him, so that the forehead of a certain rich and snub-nosed young lady whom he had been visiting, which was covered with hair, could be freed of hair and treated so that the hair would not return. Therefore, since he wanted its effectiveness to be tested on himself first, I gave him the two following depilatories, of which one was pitch, which actually plucked out the hairs, and the other an ointment, which was able to make the hair come out on its own.
To make the pitch : take the resin of the common larch tree, around four spoonfuls, and carefully add well-trodden gum from the mastic-tree.49

53Platter here reduces the children’s strangeness, and emphasizes their similarities with others, placing them firmly within the human sphere. Aldrovandi and most other commentators instead emphasize difference, placing the Gonzaleses in a hierarchy in which humanity was a matter of degree. Their hair made them less than human, or at least less human.

54Gummy substances with which to yank out unwanted hair are still with us today, of course, and it is tempting to read Platter’s empirical approach and inclusive language as somehow “modern,” while judging the words of those who viewed the Gonzaleses as akin to unreasonable animals or violent wild folk as “premodern.” It is Aldrovandi, however, who is generally viewed as the modern scientist, and his collection forms the core of the natural history museum in Bologna. John Bulwer, who described all bearded women as “monstrous,” was a supporter of the new scientific methodology of Bacon and one of the first to suggest that deaf people could be educated. Most of those who commented on the family had been trained as humanists or natural scientists, that is, in new styles of learning. Recent interest in the Gonzales family—they or their portraits have been examined in scholarly articles in art history, medical history, anthropology, the history of freaks and marvels, folk-lore, the history of science, genetics, and ethnography—has also emerged among those trained in the newest theories : feminist theory, post-colonial theory, queer theory, disability theory, and yes, even monster theory. We may pride ourselves on having gone beyond those who viewed them as animals or monsters, yet just like people who lived in their own times, we are drawn to the Gonzales family because of the same reason. It’s the hair.

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Notes

1 Ulissa Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, (Bologna : Typic Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642 ; rpt. Paris : Belles lettres, 2002), p. 18.

2 Hoefnagl’s books of miniatures, Elementa depicta, are now in the library of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, where they can be viewed by arrangement. 32 of the illustrations, including those of the Gonzales family, can be seen online.

3 Dispatch from Giulio Alvarotto, now in the state archives in Modena, and reprinted in Roberto Zapperi, Der wilde Mann von Tenerifa : Die wundersame Geschichte des Pedro Gonzalez und seiner Kinder (Munich, C.H. Beck, 2004), p. 189.

4 U. Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, op. cit., p. 16, 18.

5 Ibidem.

6 Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 (New York : Zone Books, 1998).

7 Joyce E. Salisbury, The Beast Within : Animals in the Middle Ages (New York : Routledge, 1994) ; Erica Fudge, ed., Renaissance Beasts : Of Animals, Humans, and Other Wonderful Creatures (Urbana : Universtity of Illinois Press, 2004) ; Erica Fudge, Brutal Reasoning : Animals, Rationality, and Humanity in Early Modern England (Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2006).

8 L. Daston and K. Park, Wonders..., op. cit.

9 John Woolton, A newe Anatomie of the whole man…(London : Thomas Purfoote, 1576), cited in Fudge, Brutal Reasoning, p. 12.

10 John Moore, A Mappe of Mans Mortalitie, (London, 1617), p. 43.

11 George Gascoigne, A delicate Diet, for daintie mouthde Droonkardes (London, 1576), iv, cited in Fudge, Brutal Reasoning, p. 62.

12 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. the English Dominican Fathers (New York : Benzigen Brothers, 1947), Q. 28, 2, p. 493-4.

13 Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, in Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis : Concordia Publishing House, 1958), vol. 1, p. 71.

14 Dorothy Leigh, The Mother’s Blessing, London, 1637, p. 38-9 and 44.

15 The History of the Life of Katherine de Medici, Queen Mother and Regent of France (London, 1693), n.p., anonymous translation of the anonymous French pamphlet Discours merveilleux de la vie, actions, et déportments de Catherine de Médicis (Paris, 1575).

16 Democrates secundus, translated and cited in Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man : The American Indians and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 117.

17 Charlotte F. Otten, ed., Werewolves in Western Culture : A Lycanthropy Reader (Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 1986) has excellent original sources on werewolves, and the best discussion in English of their role in European culture.

18 Joris Hoefnagel, “Ignis : Animalia Rationalia et Insecta,” National Gallery, Washington, D.C., unpaginated ; Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, op. cit., p. 16.

19 Roberto Zapperi, Der wilde Mann von Tenerifa, Der wilde Mann von Tenerifa : Die wundersame Geschichte des Pedro Gonzalez und seiner Kinder (Munich, C.H. Beck, 2004), p. 189.

20 Richard Bernheimer, Wild Men in the Middle Ages : A Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology (Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1952) ; Edward Dudley and Maximillian E. Novak, The Wild Man Within : An Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism (Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973).

Roger Bartra, Wild Men in the Looking Glass : The Mythic Origins of European Otherness, translated by Carl T. Berrisford (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1994).

21 Timothy Husband, The Wild Man : Medieval Myth and Symbolism (New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980), available as a free download at : http://cdm16028.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15324coll10/id/105863/rec/1

22 Wilhelm Müller, “Der Nürnberger Schembartlauf : Herkunft und Deutung,” Archiv für die Geschichte von Oberfranken 62 (1982), 63-91.

23 Kathleen Basford, The Green Man (London : D. S. Brewer, 2004).

24 Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España, 607, quoted in Roger Bartra, Wild Men in the Looking Glass : The Mythic Origins of European Otherness, translated by Carl T. Berrisford (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1994), p. 1-2.

25 Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalen : Myth and Metaphor (London : Riverhead Trade, 1994) ; Franco Mormando, "Virtual Death in the Middle Ages : The Apotheosis of Mary Magdalene in Popular Preaching,” in Death and Dying in the Middle Ages, ed. Edelgard DuBruck and Barbara I. Gusick (New York : Peter Lang, 1999), p. 257-74.

26 Ilse E. Friesen The Female Crucifix : Images of St. Wilgefortis Since the Middle Ages (Waterloo, Ontario : Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2001) ; Carole Levin, “St. Fridiswide and St. Uncumber : Changing Images of Female Saints in Renaissance England,” in Mary E. Burke, et al., eds. Women, Writing, and the Reproduction of Culture in Tudor and Stuart Britain (Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 2000), p. 223-237.

27 Thomas More, A Dialogue of Sir Thomas More Knight, quoted in Mark Albert Johnston, “Bearded Women in Early Modern England,” Studies in English Literature 47 (Winter 2007), p. 18.

28 Husband, Wild Man, op. cit., p. 64.

29 The most up-to-date general survey on European witchraft is Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 3rd edition (London, Longman, 2006).

30 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Translated by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1938), vol. II, p. 513, 515, 521, 523.

31 The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, trans. C.W.R.D. Moseley (London : Penguin Books, 2004), p. 137 and 181.

32 Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, pp. 16-17. For other ways in which Aldrovandi situated the Gonzales family in this text, see The Marvelous Hairy Girls, pp. 205-212, and also Aldrovandi, Ibidem, p. 473 and 580.

33 Ibid., p. 20.

34 Pierre d’Ailly, Imago Mundi, translated by Edwin F. Keever (Wilmington, NC : privately published, 1948, p. 42.

35 Josine H. Blok, The Early Amazons : Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth, tr. Peter Mason (Leiden : Brill, 1995).

36 Antonio Pigafetta, The First Voyage Around the World, ed. Theodore J. Cachey, Jr. (New York : Marsilio Publishers, 1995), p. 81.

37 Amerigo Vespucci, Account of his First Voyage (1497), at : http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1497vespucci-america.html

38 Michael Cooper, et al., The Southern Barbarians : The First Europeans in Japan (Tokyo : Kodansha International/Sophia University, 1971).

39 Will Fisher, “The Renaissance Beard : Masculinity in Early Modern England,” Renaissance Quarterly 54 (Spring 2001) : 155-87.

40 Will Fisher, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006).

41 Bolzani’s’s work appeared in an anonymous English translation, ascribed to one “Johan Valerian, a great clerke of Italy,” as A treatise which is Intitled in Latin Pro Sacredotum Barbis (London, 1533), The quotations are from f. 10r and f. 17v-18r.

42 John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis : Man Transform’d, or the Artifical Changeling (London, 1654), pp. 208, 198.

43 Ibidem.

44 Will Fisher, “The Renaissance Beard : Masculinity in Early Modern England,” Renaissance Quarterly 54 (Spring 2001), p. 155-87.

45 Bolzani, A treatise which is Intitled in Latin Pro Sacredotum Barbis (London, 1533), f. 10r .

46 John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis, op. cit., p. 215.

47 Felix Platter, Observationum Felicis Plateri… libri tres, Basilea 1680, Lib. III, p. 572.

48 For more on Platter’s upbringing, see The Marvelous Hairy Girls, p. 189-197, and also Beloved Son Felix : The Journal of Felix Platter, a Medical Student in Montpellier in the Sixteenth Century, translated by Seán Jennett, London : Frederick Muller, 1961.

49 F. Platter, Observationum..., op. cit., p. 572.

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Fig. 1 - Puella pilosa annorum octo alterius soror
in Ulissa Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia, Bologna, Typic Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642.http://www2.biusante.parisdescartes.fr/​img/​?refphot=21407&mod=s
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-1.jpg
image/jpeg, 652k
Fig. 2 - Portrait d’Antonietta par Lavinia Fontana, Portrait de Tonetta, v. 1583. Musée de Blois.
http://www.photo.rmn.fr/​cf/​htm/​CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=7&FP=14945219&E=2K1KTSJ18RU5O&SID=2K1KTSJ18RU5O&New=T&Pic=4&SubE=2C6NU0SK0659
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-2.jpg
image/jpeg, 40k
Fig. 3 - Anonyme allemand, Maddalena (Madeleine) Gonzales, v. 1580. Wien, Château d’Ambras, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemaldegalerie
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/​brad-darren/​11372604863/​in/​photostream/​
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-3.jpg
image/jpeg, 2.7M
Fig. 4 - Peter Gonzalez et sa femme, in Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate I, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art
http://www.nga.gov/​content/​ngaweb/​Collection/​art-object-page.69680.html
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-4.jpg
image/jpeg, 56k
Fig. 5 : Joris Hoefnagel, Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis) : Plate II, c. 1575/1580, Washington, National Gallery of Art
http://www.nga.gov/​content/​ngaweb/​Collection/​art-object-page.69691.html
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-5.jpg
image/jpeg, 48k
Fig. 6 : Hans Holbein Le Jeune, Homme sauvage brandissant un tronc d’arbre déraciné, sans date. Dessin. London, The British Museum.
http://www.britishmuseum.org/​research/​collection_online/​collection_object_details/​collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=163330&objectId=720898&partId=1
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-6.jpg
image/jpeg, 336k
Fig. 7 : Sainte Wilgeforte sur sa croix, gravure sur bois de Hans Burgkmair, Augsbourg, v. 1507.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Burgkmair_Kuemmernis.JPG
URL http://apparences.revues.org/docannexe/image/1283/img-7.jpg
image/jpeg, 106k
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References

Electronic reference

Merry Wiesner-Hanks, « The Wild and Hairy Gonzales Family  », Apparence(s) [Online], 5 | 2014, Online since 15 February 2014, Connection on 25 June 2017. URL : http://apparences.revues.org/1283

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Author

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Merry Wiesner-Hanks is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the United States. Her research focuses primarily on early modern Europe, and on the history of women and gender. Among her publications are The Marvelous Hairy Girls : The Gonzales Sisters and their Worlds (Yale University Press, 2009), Gender in History : Global Perspectives (Blackwell, 2010), and Early Modern Europe 1450-1789 (Cambridge, 2nd. ed 2013).

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la revue Apparence(s) sont disponibles selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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