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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 102: New Approaches to Sculptural Iconography

Monday 6 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Wendelien A. W. Van Welie-Vink, Afdeling Kunst- en cultuurwetenschappen, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Paper 102-aAd imitationem episcopi: St Honoré as a Model of Episcopal Action in the 13th-Century Sculpture of Amiens Cathedral
(Language: English)
Lindsey Hansen, Department of the History of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - Sculpture, Hagiography, Liturgy
Paper 102-bHorse and a Groom to Aid the Queen: Secular Figures at the Goldene Rössl
(Language: English)
Dafna Nissim, Department of the Arts, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Index terms: Art History - Sculpture, Politics and Diplomacy

Paper -a:
The St Honoré portal at Amiens cathedral is peculiar. It is one of only four portals dating to the Gothic period in France with iconography dedicated to the life of a local saint. Using previously unstudied hagiographic texts and liturgical manuscripts produced for use at Amiens in the 13th century, this paper will demonstrate that the vita of St Honoré was manipulated in the portal's sculptural program to shape conceptions of episcopal identity and to model ideal behavior for the local clerical and episcopal audiences who activated the space during liturgical rites.

Paper -b:
The figure of King Charles VI of France (reigned 1380–1422), with a knight by his side, kneeling in prayer before Mary and the infant Jesus is at the center of a sculpture that the king received as a gift from his wife, Isabeau, on January 1, 1405. In several ways the theme of the piece is reminiscent of similar settings in illustrated Books of Hours. Alongside the king and the venerated saints, there are other figures that are not found in parallels. Beside the king a knight is kneeling and a groom is holding an impressive horse. Thus, this piece hosts alongside the customary images several secular figures that belong to the courtly culture and, as will be shown in my proposed paper, to the king's daily life.

My presentation will focus on the horse and the groom taking up about a third of the height of the sculpture, hinting thus at the special significance of those figures in connection with the entire scene. I shall suggest that this gift was meant as a token of the queen's loyalty and a plea for his recovery. This can be concluded from what we know about the queen’s dealing with her delicate political situation in the face of her husband’s illness (he suffered severe mental illness) and how this was subsequently expressed in the sculpture. The publicity of the gift exchange tradition in the 15th century allowed her to demonstrate her loyalty and her care for her ill husband and in a piece that merges a traditional theme with iconographic ingenuity.