Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Francesca of Salerno

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

Francesca of Salerno
Flourished 1320s, Salerno, Italy

Francesca (also called Francesca Romana) obtained a doctorate in surgery in 1321 at the medical school in Salerno, which was a training ground for many female physicans in the fourteenth century and had accepted women from its inception. The language used in Francesca's degree reveals one reason for this enlightened policy: "Whereas the laws permit women to practice medicine, and whereas, from the viewpoint of good morals, women are best adapted to the treatment of their own sex, we, after having received the oath of fidelity, permit the said Francesca to practice the said art of healing" (Allen, Concept of Woman, 431).

Related Place Setting


Related Heritage Floor Entries

Abella of Salerno
Ageltrude Benevento
Bertha of Sulzbach
Stephanie De Montaneis

Bettisia Gozzadini
Pope Joan
Sarah of St. Gilles
Theodora the Senatrix

Primary Sources

Allen, Prudence. The Concept of Woman: The Aristotelian Revolution, 750 B.C.–A.D. 1250. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1997.