This text offers a strategy for understanding how certain viewers, mainly but not exclusively aristocratic lay women from late-medieval France, interpreted images of motherhood and childbirth
Available: Newton Park
This study brings images of holy motherhood and childbearing into the centre of an art-historical enquiry, showing how images worked not only to script and maintain gender and social roles within patriarchal society, but also to offer viewers ways of managing those roles. Some of the manuscripts discussed are relatively unknown and their images and texts are made available to readers for the first time.
Through an adaptation of Baxandall’s ‘period eye’, the study considers the many ‘cognitive habits’ acquired by aristocratic lay women – and men – through familiarity with prayers for childbirth, the lying-in ceremony, and the rite of churching. It then uses this methodology to interpret the images and prayers in six bespoke manuscripts, including the Fitzwilliam Hours and the Hours of Marguerite of Foix.
The book will appeal to advanced students, academics and researchers of Art History, Illuminated Manuscripts, Medieval History and Gender Studies.