Planctus provinciae: Arts of mourning in fifteenth-century Provence /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Porthe, Rainbow Aline, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2016
Description:1 electronic resource (222 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Rebecca Zorach Committee members: Jas' Elsner; Aden Kumler; Christina Normore.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-08(E), Section: A.
Summary:While scholars have long viewed mourning as a characteristic feature of fifteenth-century Francophone culture, little attention has been paid to its special importance for the aesthetic values of southern France, where a longstanding identification with saintly mourners was visually underscored. Reminders of past prestige alongside a continuing erosion of power in the present permeated the region. Fifteenth-century Provence suffered economically with the departure of the popes in 1377 and was caught in the dynastic policies of its ruler, Rene d'Anjou (1409--1480), who cultivated a state of mourning for territories he would never truly possess, chief among them Jerusalem---the site of mourning par excellence for the Latin west. With each death of legitimate Angevin heirs, Provence moved closer to annexation by France (1481) and the loss of autonomy.
Situated between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, north and south, fifteenth-century Provence was an important crossroads for a range of political, religious and artistic forces. Indeed, a condition of liminality profoundly shaped both the Provencal historical situation and contemporary subjective experiences of the region. Provencal arts, marked by a visual aesthetic betwixt Gothic pictorial modes and proto-Renaissance realism and bound by themes of mourning, played a major part in this territorial, cultural and religious "between-ness." Provence also challenges the assumptions through which art historical writing has organized French, Italian or northern Renaissance art into distinct categories. Historiographically, fifteenth-century Provence has been largely overlooked precisely because the region's liminality has made it hard to see its distinctiveness.
This dissertation explores the artistic exchange, political events, and affective religious practices that coincided in fifteenth-century Provence, allowing us to see how artists and audiences used specific visual strategies to create and mobilize forms of political and cultural longing and loss. I argue that Provencal artists and audiences were acutely aware of their liminal position and took it as an opportunity to forge a distinct identity by solidifying connections to the past. Provence thus emerges as a lieu de memoire that confronts standard assumptions about how mournful representations contributed to the elaboration of identity before modernity.