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.
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 Introduction 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.