Picturing Death 1200–1600


Picturing Death: 1200–1600 explores the visual culture of mortality over the course of four centuries that witnessed a remarkable flourishing of imagery focused on the themes of death, dying, and the afterlife. In doing so, this volume sheds light on issues that unite two periods—the Middle Ages and the Renaissance—that are often understood as diametrically opposed. The studies collected here cover a broad visual terrain, from tomb sculpture to painted altarpieces, from manuscripts to printed books, and from minute carved objects to large-scale architecture. Taken together, they present a picture of the ways that images have helped humans understand their own mortality, and have incorporated the deceased into the communities of the living.

Contributors: Jessica Barker, Katherine Boivin, Peter Bovenmyer, Xavier Dectot, Maja Dujakovic, Brigit Ferguson, Alison C. Fleming, Fredrika Jacobs, Henrike C. Lange, Robert Marcoux, Walter S. Melion, Stephen Perkinson, Johanna Scheel, Mary Silcox, Judith Steinhoff, and Noa Turel.

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Stephen Perkinson, Ph.D. (1998, Northwestern University), is Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Bowdoin College. He is the author of The Likeness of the King (Chicago, 2009) and The Ivory Mirror (Yale, 2017).

Noa Turel, Ph.D. (2012, University of California, Santa Barbara), is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the author of Living Pictures: Jan van Eyck and Painting’s First Century (Yale, 2020).
List of Illustrations
Stephen Perkinson and Noa Turel

part 1: Housing the Dead

1 Looking beyond the Face: Tomb Effigies and the Medieval Commemoration of the Dead
Robert Marcoux

2 Portraiture, Projection, Perfection: The Multiple Effigies of Enrico Scrovegni
Henrike Christiane Lange

3 Plorans ploravit in nocte: The Birth of the Figure of the Pleurant in Tomb Sculpture
Xavier Dectot

4 Gendering Prayer in Trecento Florence: Tomb Paintings in Santa Croce and San Remigio
Judith Steinhoff

5 Two-Story Charnel-House Chapels and the Space of Death in the Medieval City
Katherine M. Boivin

part 2: Mortal Anxieties and Living Paradoxes

6 The Living Dead and the Joy of the Crucifixion
Brigit G. Ferguson

7 The Speaking Tomb: Ventriloquizing the Voices of the Dead
Jessica Barker

8 Feeding Worms: The Theological Paradox of the Decaying Body and Its Depictions in the Context of Prayer and Devotion
Johanna Scheel

9 Not Quite Dead: Imaging the Miracle of Infant Resuscitation
Fredrika H. Jacobs

part 3: The Macabre, Instrumentalized

10 Dissecting for the King: Guido da Vigevano and the Anatomy of Death
Peter Bovenmyer

11 Covert Apotheoses: Archbishop Henry Chichele’s Tomb and the Vocational Logic of Early Transis
Noa Turel

12 Into Print: Early Illustrated Books and the Reframing of the Danse Macabre
Maja Dujakovic

13 Death Commodified: Macabre Imagery on Luxury Objects, c. 1500
Stephen Perkinson

part 4: Departure and Persistence

14 Coemeterium Schola: The Emblematic Imagery of Death in Jan David’s Veridicus Christianus
Walter S. Melion

15 A Protestant Reconceptualization of Images of Death and the Afterlife in Stephen Bateman’s A Christall Glasse
Mary V. Silcox

16 Shifting Role Models within the Society of Jesus: The Abandonment of Grisly Martyrdom Images c. 1600
Alison C. Fleming

Art historians concerned with the art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as cultural and literary historians interested in themes of mortality from those periods and more broadly. Keywords: medieval, Renaissance, tomb sculpture, 1200–1600, Dance of Death, macabre, funerary architecture, memento mori, death, transi tomb, cadaver tomb, ossuary, Reformation, salvation, purgatory, miracles.
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