Holy motherhood: gender, dynasty and visual culture in the later Middle Ages

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Manchester University Press, 2008 - Art - 282 pages

This study brings images of holy motherhood and childbearing into the center 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.

This book was produced with financial assistance from The Medieval Academy of America, The Scouloudi Foundation and The Weiss-Brown Subvention of The Newberry Library, Chicago.

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Introduction l
viewing gender and response in
saints treatises and prayers

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About the author (2008)

Elizabeth L’Estrange is an FNRS Post-Doctoral Fellow in History of Art at the University of Liège in Belgium.