In lay practice of saints’ devotion in late medieval Christianity, adherents were directed to employ complex mental and perceptual processes designed to reveal likenesses with their subject of worship. Devotion to a saint who had characteristics that the worshipper could identify with enabled a dialogue and an imagined solidarity, a first step toward self-introspection. Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), queen of France due to her marriage to two regents, commissioned in the first years of the 16th-century a book of hours in which two images of St Ursula are rendered (the Grandes Heures, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 9474). Additionally, she requested to reshape a lavish nef, which she got as a present from the citizens of Tours, into a reliquary of St Ursula. The mental mechanism of selecting a preferred saint, which later on results in commissioning artworks assisting a noble worshipper in his/her devotion, is a less explored subject. In this paper I will outline/trace the similarities between the Saint’s vita and the life narrative of the Queen, and then move to describe the artistic ways in which they have been used, enhanced and accentuated. This kind of analysis can shed light on the way devotees related and responded to religious perceptions and the creative ways by which they demonstrated their devotion.
Between 1405 and 1406, an extraordinary version of the French translation of Augustine’s City of God entered the collection of Duke John of Berry, the uncle of the French king. An original collaboration between scribes, illuminators, decorators, and a supervising libraire (book seller), Collins 1945-65-1 demonstrates the power of visual imagery and page layout and design as instruments of interpretative transformation. This paper will analyze the innovative relationship between the manuscript’s text and visual program, identifying the mechanisms through which this manuscript mediates the text of the Cité de Dieu and prompts an expansion of the reader’s horizon of expectations.
The breviary of Marie of Saint Pol ( MS Cambridge University Library, Dd. 5.5) is an illuminated manuscript for Franciscan use. This manuscript belonged Marie of Saint Pol, a Countness of Pembroke and a Franciscan sister in 14th-century England. As a breviary, this source has the psalms, temporal and sanctoral. In their sanctoral we can perceive that the most folios with miniatures has images of saints in their moment of martyrdom. Our objective in this paper is to analyze the devotion of images of saints martyrs by a Franciscan Sister of the 14th century.