A Feast for the Eyes: Art, Performance, and the Late Medieval Banquet
To read accounts of late medieval banquets is to enter a fantastical world where live lions guard nude statues, gilded stags burst into song, and musicians play from within pies. We can almost hear the clock sound from within a glass castle, taste the fire-breathing roast boar, and smell the rose water cascading in a miniature fountain. Such vivid works of art and performance required collaboration among artists in many fields, as well as the participation of the audience.
A Feast for the Eyes is the first book-length study of the court banquets of northwestern Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Christina Normore draws on an array of artworks, archival documents, chroniclers’ accounts, and cookbooks to re-create these events and reassess the late medieval visual culture in which banquets were staged. Feast participants, she shows, developed sophisticated ways of appreciating artistic skill and attending to their own processes of perception, thereby forging a court culture that delighted in the exercise of fine aesthetic judgment.
Challenging modern assumptions about the nature of artistic production and reception, A Feast for the Eyes yields fresh insight into the long history of multimedia work and the complex relationships between spectacle and spectators.
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accounts actors aesthetic Andrea Pearson animals apes appears Aristotle artistic audience avoit banquet behavior Bibliothèque royale Albert Bourgogne Brussels Burgundian Burgundian court Burgundy Cambridge chapter Charles Martel Charles the Bold Charles’s Chastellain Chiquart Chronique courtiers create d’Escouchy depicted diners dining discussed ducal duchess Duke of Burgundy elite emotional entremet ethical feast hall festivities fifteenth centuries figures fountain fourteenth and fifteenth France French Georges Chastellain Ghent Altarpiece giant gift guests Holy Church human ibid iconography imagery Jan van Eyck Jean lady late medieval late Middle Ages lion magnificence manuscript Marche Marche’s Margaret of York marriage marvelous Mémoires miniature modern noble Olivier painting Paris patrons performance Pheasant Philip the Bold play political Renaissance role royale Albert 1er rulers scene servers social Somme le roi spectacle strange suggests temperance tion tradition trans University Press Valois Viandier viewer Virgin virtue visual vows wedding ymage