Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Bertha of Sulzbach

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

Bertha of Sulzbach
b. circa 1110, Germany; d. 1159, probably Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul)

Bertha of Sulzbach entered into a marriage in 1146 with the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus (ruled 1143–80), as part of a political alliance between Byzantium and Germany against their rival, Roger II, king of Sicily. As empress, she was renamed Eirene (Irene) and was praised for her philanthropy and modesty, known to reject the luxuries and excesses of the Byzantine court such as fine clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics. She had two daughters with Manuel.

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