Public Relations Eyewitnesses in 14th-Century French Royal Manuscripts
PDF, 16 pages
Within a group of manuscripts, made in the circle around Jeanne II of Navarre in the 1330's (BnF, Ms. fr. 5716; BnF, Ms. n. a. lat. 3145; Ms. fr. 13568), several miniatures show distinguished figures that not only appear as witnesses inside the pictured scene but also serve as links between the manuscripts. The motivations of some of these figures lies beyond the content of the depicted scenes or the logic of pictorial composition, which leads to the conclusion that these figures convey the political intentions of their patroness. By means of those figures, who function as eye-witnesses, the article traces Jeanne's influence on the image of St. Louis as well as the relations between the audiences within and without the miniatures.
The invention of depicting figures participating in an event — nameless bystanders, beholders, and onlookers — marks an important change in the ways artists addressed the beholder of the artworks themselves. This shift speaks to a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their audience. The public in the picture acts as mediator between times, persons, and contents. The contributions of this volume describe this moment from a diachronic and transcultural perspective, while each of them focuses on a specific group of works revealing a new moment in this history. They explore the cultural contexts of the political and religious public, and relate the rise of the public in the picture to the rise of perspectival representation (Panofsky’s space-box and Kemp’s Chronotopos).