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Pilgrimage through the pages: pilgrim's badges in late medieval devotional manuscripts

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Title: Pilgrimage through the pages: pilgrim's badges in late medieval devotional manuscripts
Author(s): Foster, Megan
Advisor(s): Hedeman, Anne D.
Contributor(s): Fresco, Karen; Marina, Areli; Ousterhout, Robert G.
Department / Program: Art & Design
Discipline: Art History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Doctoral
Subject(s): pilgrim's badges pilgrimage manuscript illumination Northern Europe medieval Middle Ages Christian art and symbolism
Abstract: In the late Middle Ages, pilgrims travelling to popular holy shrines often purchased small, inexpensive metal badges to commemorate their visit. While these souvenirs were frequently worn on one’s clothing, hat, or bag, pilgrims began sewing the badges into the pages of their private prayer books—usually books of hours—by the second half of the fifteenth century. In turn, these led to painted trompe l’oeil representations of badges in manuscript margins. Through an analysis of surviving examples, this dissertation will examine how a badge’s original function as a souvenir of a physical pilgrimage shifted within the context of a manuscript. Similarly, the augmentation of a manuscript’s primary use as a prayer book by the inclusion of actual or painted souvenirs is discussed. Also considered is how the inclusion of pilgrim badges, either real or representational, facilitated a “mental pilgrimage” for the book owner, whether through memory or imagination. The dissertation is divided into two sections, focusing respectively on books containing actual pilgrims’ badges and manuscripts with painted representations of souvenirs. In the first portion, I will investigate how the particular location of pilgrims’ badges within a manuscript affected the reader’s interaction with the souvenirs and the book’s contents, whether clustered together on one folio or scattered through the manuscript next to specific—and often relevant—text and illuminations. Particular attention will be placed on manuscripts originally owned by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Burgundian and Hapsburg families and their associates. The second half addresses the artists and workshops behind the production of Flemish manuscript illumination, specifically the development of the trompe l’oeil borders and the likely use of models and copying. It also examines the possible ways in which painted pilgrim badge borders could be interpreted by the book’s owner. This study provides insight as to how two forms of popular devotion—that of public pilgrimage through the ownership of pilgrim badges and private contemplation through prayer books supplemented by these badges—merged in the late medieval period.
Issue Date: 2012-02-06
Genre: thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/29606
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Megan Foster
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-02-06
Date Deposited: 2011-12
 

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