Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Teresa de Cartagena

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

Teresa de Cartagena
b. circa 1420, Burgos, Spain; date of death unknown

Born into a prominent religious and literary family in Burgos, Spain, the writer Teresa de Cartagena lost her hearing in childhood and had become a nun by 1453. She inadvertently became involved in the feminist debates of her time with her treatise, the Arboleda de los enfermos (Grove of the Infirm), a meditation on disability as a divine gift. The public reaction was vitriolic: assuming no woman possessed the intellect required to write such a text, critics accused her of plagiarism. Teresa responded with an erudite defense of her authorship, the AdmiraciĆ³n operum Dey (Wonder at the Works of God)

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