Regarded as the only legitimate coronation site of French monarchs, Reims cathedral held a unique place in the French kingdom. Scholars have long considered its vast sculptural ensemble on the reverse west façade as a ‘mirror for princes’, i.e., a literary genre of political educational writing for instructing rulers. I argue that this material manifestation of the literary genre, on the reverse façade was designed to serve the purposes of commemorating Louis IX as a model as well as the recipient of the guidelines embedded in the sculptural array, which was subsequently used to edify his heirs according to his political ideology.
This paper describes an interpretation of medieval art using the visual theory of the day, which was largely based on an Aristotelian foundation. What modern visual theory interprets as a subjective medieval painting space, the medieval visual theory interprets as objective. The distinction between objective and subjective is relative to which theory is deployed. In the Middle Ages visual essences were coherent objects, per se, not pointillistic abstract fields processed by the brain to seem like objects. The result was an object-oriented space that does not require linear perspective to be objective. This paper will focus on medieval visual theory and how it can be a useful tool for the interpretation of medieval space.
The 15th-century manner of placing light reflections in paintings has found its culmination in the work of Albrecht Dürer, who for the first time in history used a form of reflex resembling the window frame placed in the eye of the portrayed. The importance of this mannerism is emphasized by the fact that the artist has consistently used it for the rest of his life, not only in his paintings, but also graphics. This study is an attempt to justify the symbolic meaning of these reflections in relation to the texts of the Bible and its later comments, the medieval philosophical tradition, the medieval aesthetics of light, as well as modern knowledge about the spirituality of the people of the Middle Ages.