IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 505: Me, Myself, and I?: Constructing the Self in Art

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Gilbert Jones, Department of Art History & Art, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio
Paper 505-aSelf-Observation: The Case of Philip the Good and His Book of Hours (The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, MS 76F2)
(Language: English)
Dafna Nissim, Department of the Arts, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Index terms: Anthropology, Art History - Painting, Daily Life, Religious Life
Paper 505-bThe Guardian of England: Shaping and Presenting Self-Identity in Two Personal Prayer Books of John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford
(Language: English)
Orly Amit, Department of Art History, Tel Aviv University
Index terms: Art History - General, Lay Piety, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Social History

Paper -a:
This paper explores self-observation as an essential tool of self-fashioning of Western nobility’s members in the 15th century. I argue that portraits of the owners in Book of Hours kneeling before Mary and the infant Christ were used as a mirror fashioning both the religious and the secular self. In this study, I emphasise the role of gaze in the interaction between patron and his image and the way Northern Realism style helped to shape a new way of seeing and perceiving the self. An interdisciplinary approach taken in this study will discuss self-grooming as an essential tool in fashioning the noble self and the role of mirror in this process. Eight portraits of Philip the Good in the manuscript he commissioned in 1455 will be analysed as a case study of the interaction between the seeing subject and his reflexive image. Looking into the traces of his gaze, their quantity, location, and the decision to make them in grisaille will provide a glimpse into how the Duke could fashion his secular and devotional self.

Paper -b:
My presentation explores the shaping and presentation of self-identity in two personal prayer books copied and illustrated for John of Lancaster (1389-1435), Duke of Bedford, and Regent of France. The Duke’s historical biography has been researched extensively, but his visual biography – as reflected in his personal manuscripts – has not previously been examined in depth. My study examines how the Duke’s representation in his manuscripts shapes or clarifies his self-identity. In this paper, I intend to show how even though both manuscripts were designed to display the high rank of the Duke prominently, each manuscript emphasises different aspects of his identity.