The most memorable stories throughout history feature a powerful, seductive woman who has an irresistible hold over the man in her life. The alluring Cleopatra, like Helen of Troy, inspired lovers to the battlefield in a brave display of loyalty. Eve and Pandora wreaked havoc when they tempted men to defy the laws of the day. Traitorous Delilah brought the all-powerful Samson to his knees as she divested him of his magical mane. Lovesick Juliet and Hamlet's Ophelia chose death over life in a courageous display of honor to their forbidden passion. The enchanting Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights saved herself from certain death through her exceptional capacity for storytelling. Each of these women was brave and steadfast, and their stories have inspired artists throughout history. In this gallery of femmes fatales, feminist historian Laure Adler guides us through the ages to rediscover incredible heroines. Their stories are illustrated with iconic works by masters such as da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Rubens, Goya, Sargent, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, de Saint Phalle, and Tracey Emin.
Laure Adler is a journalist, historian, and writer specializing in women's history and feminism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is the author of numerous works, notably Until Tonight and a biography of Marguerite Duras. Elisa L cosse is a doctor of art history and has published Love in the Louvre and a book on Renaissance iconography. She lectures frequently in France and the U.K.