Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages by Elizabeth L'estrangeHoly Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages by Elizabeth L'estrange

Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages

byElizabeth L'estrange

Paperback | May 30, 2012

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This book brings images of holy motherhood and childbearing into the centre of an art-historical enquiry. By focusing on images of St Anne and the Holy Kinship in Books of Hours made for aristocratic women in relation to the dynastic importance of heirs, it reassesses the role of the femaleviewer as an active agent in the interpretation of pictures and popular devotional rites. Holy motherhood combines an innovative methodology that draws on art-historical and contemporary gender studies with empirical evidence from fifteenth-century manuscripts, to show how images worked not only toscript 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. The study begins by problematising the notion that intimate, post-partum images of holy childbirth found in Books of Hours provide a window onto the medieval past and women's viewing habits. Through an adaptation of Baxadall's "period eye", the first part of the book explores how aristocratic laywomen - and men - viewed and interpreted images of childbirth by considering their familiarity with prayers for childbirth, the lying-in ceremony and the rite of churching. The second part uses this methodology to interpret the images and prayers in six bespoke manuscripts, including the FitzwilliamHours, owned by several Angevin and Breton duchesses, 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.
Elizabeth L'Estrange is a Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Birmingham.
Title:Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle AgesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.39 × 5.39 × 0.71 inPublished:May 30, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0719087260

ISBN - 13:9780719087264

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations * List of figures * Preface and acknowledgements * Family trees of the houses of France, Anjou, Brittany and Burgundy * Introduction * Part I Gender, agency and the interpretation of material culture * The situational eye: viewing, gender and response in the later middle ages * De conceptione ad partum: saints, treatises and prayers for successful childbirth * The lying-in month and the rite of churching: post-partum rituals and the material culture of childbearing Part II Manuscript case studies from the houses of Anjou, Brittany and France * Holy mothers, sainted monarchs and beata stirps: the Fitzwilliam Hours and Books of Hours for the house of Anjou * Steriles fecundas fecisti: viewing and reading holy motherhood in the manuscripts of four duchesses of Brittany Conclusion * Appendix I: prayer and translation from the Hours of Marguerite of Foix * Appendix II: prayer and translation from the Prayer Book of Anne of Brittany * Bibliography * Index

Editorial Reviews

"The intersection of gender, social practice, and feminine agency underpins much of this literature. Elizabeth L'Estrange makes an important contribution not only to these debates, but to the fields of medieval art history and manuscript studies."