Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Angéle de la Barthe

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Angéle de la Barthe
Reputedly b. circa 1230, Toulouse, France; d. 1275, Toulouse, France

According to early sources, Angèle de la Barthe, a noblewoman of Toulouse, France, was an adherent of Catharism, a Gnostic Christian sect deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. She was accused of witchcraft and, under torture, confessed to having had sexual relations with Satan. The union with the devil had produced child-eating demons that, it was charged, had been responsible for the disappearance of many infants over the previous two years. Angèle was convicted and burned alive. Contemporary scholars doubt the historicity of Angèle de la Barthe; the fifteenth-century chronicle from which her story derives is considered spurious for a variety of reasons, including the fact that there is no mention of her presumably sensational trial in the Toulouse records of the time.

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