Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Tarquinia Molza

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

Tarquinia Molza
b. 1542, Modena, Italy; d. 1617, Modena, Italy

Poet, musician, composer, classical scholar, philosopher, astronomer, mathematician—Tarquinia Molza inspired admiration not only for her agile intellect but for her independent spirit. Born into an artisan family of Modena, she was a renowned singer and published poet by the early 1570s. At the age of forty, a childless widow of independent means, she nevertheless accepted a salaried position at the court of Ferrara with a chamber ensemble, as a soprano vocalist and player of the lute and viola. That she was highly regarded is indicated by her salary—300 scudi a year, more than twice that of the court composer. This esteem, however, did not prevent her dismissal in 1589, when it was discovered that she was having an affair with a fellow musician. She returned to Modena, where she hosted lively salons and remained a central figure in the cultural life of northern Italy until her death. In 1600, the Roman Senate declared her an honorary citizen of the city, dubbing her "L'Unica."

Related Place Setting

Isabella d'Este

Related Heritage Floor Entries

Catherine Adorni
Laura Ammanati
Isabella Andreini
Anne of Beaujeu
Anne of Brittany
Lucrezia Borgia
Dorotea Bucca
Francesca Caccini
Laura Cereta
Vittoria Colonna
Caterina Cornaro
Isabella Cortesi
Novella D'Andrea
Tullia D'Aragona
Marie de Medici
Jeanne de Montfort

Annabella Drummond
Cassandra Fidelis
Veronica Gambara
Alessandra Giliani
Elizabetta Gonzaga
Isabella of Lorraine
Mahaut of Artois
Baptista Malatesta
Mathilda of Germany
Olympia Morata
Caterina Sforzia
Agnes Sorel
Gaspara Stampa
Barbara Strozzi
Lucrezia Tournabuoni
Yolanda of Aragon