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Materiality, rhetoric and emotion in the Pietà: the Virgin Mary in images of piety in 15th century Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 41, no 3, 271-288 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the representation of materiality on wall paintings, as depicted objects functioned as triggers of emotion to convey meaning in images. In medieval aesthetics images were made to engage all the senses in the spectator so as to create a truthful experience. The material perspective combines well with medieval rhetoric in understanding this process, particularly the concepts of ekphrasis, enargeia and ductus. By doing close readings of images, and identifying materials, figures, objects, gestures and so on, in the same manner as one can close read texts, narratives of the images can be discovered. It is also a reading that helps in identifying emotive expressions and rhetorical gestures that together with material aspects of images and texts also help in identifying gender-related contents. During the 15th century the Pietà (the mourning Virgin Mary holding her dead son) was introduced in Sweden. The image is key in understanding the Marian cult as it was established alongside the expanding devotion to the Virgin in the Nordic countries. By fusing the material aspect and rhetoric in a close reading of the motif that focuses on gender and emotion this study aims to find alternative paths in analysing medieval art. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2016. Vol. 41, no 3, 271-288 p.
Keyword [en]
Virgin Mary, medieval art, visual culture, medieval wall paintings, iconography
National Category
Art History
Research subject
History Of Art
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125087DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2016.1179830ISI: 000380708000002OAI: diva2:957908
Imitatio Mariae: Jungfru Maria som förebild i det medeltida Sverige
Swedish Research Council

Special Issue: Gender, Material Culture and Emotions in Scandinavian History

Available from: 2016-09-05 Created: 2016-09-05 Last updated: 2016-09-13Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, Ann-Catrine
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