Frustrated Seeing: Scale, Visibility, and a Fifteenth‐Century Portuguese Royal MonumentJessica BarkerThis article teases apart an apparent paradox: despite their innovative designs and artistic virtuosity, some of the most celebrated funerary effigies of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are extremely difficult to see in situ. Opening with a consideration of the political, social and religious significance of partial visibility in the later Middle Ages, the issues of sight and scale are further interrogated through the study of an important (and largely unknown) fifteenth‐century royal tomb in Portugal. Through an examination of the extraordinary height of this monument and its implications for the relationship between the sculpted effigies and their viewers, this essay complicates the notion that late‐medieval art was characterized by a ‘need to see’, arguing that the limited, conditional or partial visibility of an artwork could be a strategy to produce a distinctive type of aesthetic experience, lending the memorial both meaning and importance.Jessica Barker is a Lecturer in Art History at the University of East Anglia. She recently published an edited collection of essays, Revisiting the Monument (Courtauld Books On‐Line, 2016), examining the legacy of Panofsky’s writing on funerary monuments, and has articles in British Art Studies, Gesta
Art History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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