The first in-depth exploration of rape as it has been portrayed in Western art from the twelfth through seventeenth centuries. Examining the full range of representations, from those that glorify rape to those that condemn it, Diane Wolfthal illuminates the complex web of attitudes towards sexual violence that existed in the medieval and early modern society. Wolfthal first explores Italian Renaissance and Baroque images of 'heroic' rape, in which the victim seldom suffers and the crime is sanitized, aestheticized, or eroticized. These are contrasted with a range of images, mostly created in Northern Europe, that have been ignored. Often critical of the assailant and sympathetic to his victim, these works reveal that society did, in certain circumstances, severely condemn the act of rape. Wolfthal demonstrates how this range of images still influences contemporary debate about sexual violence.