Devotional Portraiture and Spiritual Experience Ingrid Falque analyses the meditative functions of early Netherlandish paintings including devotional portraits, that is portraits of people kneeling in prayer. Such paintings have been mainly studied in the context of commemorative and social practices, but as Ingrid Falque shows, they also served as devotional instruments.
By drawing parallels between the visual strategies of these paintings and texts of the major spiritual writers of the medieval Low Countries, she demonstrates that paintings with devotional portraits functioned as a visualisation of the spiritual process of the sitters.
The book is accompanied by the first exhaustive catalogue of paintings with devotional portraits produced in the Low Countries between c. 1400 and 1550. This catalogue is available at no costs in e-format (
HERE) and can also be purchased as a printed hardcover book ((
Ingrid Falque, PhD. (2009), Université catholique de Louvain, is Research Associate of the F.R.S.-FNRS. She is an art historian and has published numerous articles on the various relationships between late medieval images and spirituality in journals (e.g.
Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique) and edited volumes.
Table of contents
Acknowledgements List of Figures and Graph Abbreviations Note to the Reader Introduction 1
Ora pro me: The Forms and Locations of Devotional Portraits in Early Netherlandish Painting 1 From the Outside to the Inside: The Location of Portraits within the Physical Spaces of the Work
Via ad Deum: Devotional Portraiture and the Spiritual Journey 1 Spiritual Progress and the Meditative Process in the Medieval Religious Tradition
2 The Devotee on the Path
3 The Goal of the Spiritual Journey and the Status of the Sacred Space
Ascensiones in corde disposuit: Devotional Portraiture and Spiritual Ascent 1 Mise en Mots and Mise en Image of the Spiritual Ascent in the Medieval Spiritual Tradition
2 The Theme of the Spiritual Ascent in Devotional Literature of the Low Countries in the Late Middle Ages
3 Mise en Image of the Spiritual Ascent in Early Netherlandish Painting
4 Petrus Christus’ Exeter Madonna, an Emblematic Case of Spiritual Ascent
5 The Diptych of Lodovico Portinari and the Visualisation of the Meditative Process
Eene vergaderinghe van twee personen die comen van diverschen staden: Devotional Portraiture, Union with God and Spiritual Perfection 1 The Outcome of the Contemplative Process: Spiritual Perfection, Union with God and the Ghemeine Leven
2 Devotional Portraiture and the Visualisation of Spiritual Perfection
3 The Van der Burch Triptych of Jan Provoost, an Exemplary Image of Spiritual Perfection
In spiritualem quandam armoniam: Devotional Portraiture and the Role of Images in the Meditative Process 1 The Place of Images in Late Medieval Meditative Theory and Practices
2 Geert Grote’s Tractatus de Quattuor Generibus Meditabilium, the Ghemeine Leven and the Status of Images
Conclusions Bibliography index
All interested in the study of early Netherlandish paintings and more precisely of theirs functions and meanings, and anyone concerned with the relationships between art and spirituality in the late Middle Ages. Keywords: Early Netherlandish painting, Low Countries, 1400-1550, images, art, painting, devotion, spiritual literature, Flemish Primitives, spirituality, mysticism, Modern Devotion, iconology, late Middle Ages, art history.