Different Visions: New Perspectives on Medieval Art
This article seeks to further our understanding of the Très Riches Heures as both a devotional manuscript and as a work of art through an extended consideration of one of its key images, the Fall of Humanity (Fig. 1). I will be especially concerned in this analysis with the ways in which the book’s patron, Jean, duc de Berry (died 1416), might have experienced the manuscript if he had lived to see its completion. In negotiating what I see as a tension between the book’s devotional concerns and its aesthetics, I will argue for an approach that I characterize here as post-theoretical. It will take the full space of this article to explain what that term means and how it might be applied to a work of art from the late Middle Ages. Suffice it to state at the outset that I will draw from various strands of theoretical work in the humanities developed over the past few decades but that my reading will also be cognizant of the ways in which my theoretical excurses fail to account fully for the rich hermeneutic potential of this one particular work of medieval art, which was likely created with the express intention of stimulating the Duke’s desires in multiple and even contradictory ways.
Guest, Gerald B., "Embodiment and Devotion in the Très Riches Heures (or, the Possibilities of a Post-Theoretical Art History)" (2020). 2020 Faculty Bibliography. 13.
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