Session 602: Reading Meaning in Art and Architecture, II: Interactions between Politics and Iconography in Late Medieval Europe
Tuesday 11 July 2006, 11.15-12.45
|Danielle V. Johnson, Wells College Junior Year Abroad Programme, Paris
|Ties that Bind: Bulgarini's Assumption with St Thomas and the Meanings of Byzantium in 14th-Century Siena
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Religious Life
|Gestures Political, Gestures Religious: Or, Richard II and the Wilton Diptych
Index terms: Art History - General, Mentalities
|Gesture, Emotion, and Textual History: The Female Imagery of the Apocalypse in Medieval Representation
Abstract paper -a: Bulgarini's The Assumption of the Virgin with St Thomas represents the interconnections in the visual culture of the 14th-century Mediterranean. Both the style and imagery also depend on recent transactions between Italian and Byzantine merchants. The purchase of the Virgin's girdle from Constantinople was particularly significant given the new prominence that Thomas had following the Black Death. The style so eagerly embraced by the earlier generation of painters is now recast to emphasize a more abstract, harder contour of the spiritual realities it depicted.
Abstract paper -b: In this paper I take as a given that Richard II actively participated in the design and creation of what is now known as the Wilton diptych. Devotional pieces were personal items holding special significance for the user. In Richard's case I will suggest that the composition of the piece reflects Richard's perceptions of himself. I will examine the diptych as a personal, portable, visual reminder of those things and events that were important to Richard about himself and his kingship.
Abstract paper -c: Albrecht Durer's famous woodcut illustration of the Whore of Babylon, and that by Louis Cranach which pictured her wearing a papal tiara, developed from interlinked traditions of artistic representations of the Apocalypse of John throughout the Middle Ages. Amongst these, Anglo-Norman and Spanish manuscripts are recognised as major artistic influences. Focusing on the image of the Great Harlot in some examples from the artistic tradition, I examine how gesture, the use of space, and accompanying 'realia' contribute to the imagery and message, and suggest the possible significance of these in the light of some contemporary political events and feminist biblical hermeneutics.