The Art of Healing: Painting for the Sick and the Sinner in a Medieval Town

The Art of Healing: Painting for the Sick and the Sinner in a Medieval Town

by Marcia Kupfer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0271023031

ISBN-13: 9780271023038

Pub. Date: 09/28/2003

Publisher: Penn State University Press

Many historians of medieval art now look beyond soaring cathedrals to study the relationship of architecture and image-making to life in medieval society. In The Art of Healing, Marcia Kupfer explores the interplay between church decoration and ritual practice in caring for the sick. Her inquiry bridges cultural anthropology and the social history of

Overview

Many historians of medieval art now look beyond soaring cathedrals to study the relationship of architecture and image-making to life in medieval society. In The Art of Healing, Marcia Kupfer explores the interplay between church decoration and ritual practice in caring for the sick. Her inquiry bridges cultural anthropology and the social history of medicine even as it also expands our understanding of how clergy employed mural painting to cure body and soul.

Looking closely at paintings from ca. 1200 in the church of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, a castle town in Central France, Kupfer traces their links to burial practices, the veneration of saints, and the care of the sick in nearby hospitals. Through careful analysis of the surrounding agrarian landscape, dotted with cults targeting specific afflictions, especially ergotism (then known as St. Silvan’s fire), Kupfer sheds new light on the role of wall painting in an ecclesiastical economy of healing and redemption. Sickness and death, she argues, hold the key to understanding the dynamics of Christian community in the Middle Ages. The Art of Healing will be important reading for cultural anthropologists and historians of both medicine and religion as well as for medievalists and art historians.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271023038
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.75(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: “Confess Your Sins”

Part I: The Medieval Site

1. From Castle to Town

Inside the Painted Crypt

Oppidum and Parish

Lord and Borough

2. Chapels, Hospitals, and Healing Cults

Chapels

The Leprosery

The Maison-Dieu

The Porticus of Noyers

3. From Spatialized Body to Painted Crypt

Saint Silvanus’s Fire

Local Cults: An Epidemiological Basis?

Local Cults: A System of Representation

Images and the Recapture of Therapeutic Powers

Part II: The Collegiate Church

4. The Architectural Framework: Spatial Disjunction, Social Displacement

Architectural Design and Building Chronology

The Crypt Redefined

Pilgrimage as Penance

5. The Paintings: The Saints in the Crypt

The Apsidal Theophany and the Altar of Saint James

The South Chapel: The Life of Saint Giles

The Axial Chapel: Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, and Martha

From Micro- to Macrocosm

Pictorial Resonance, Programmatic Texture

6. Image and Audience: Infirmity, Charity, and Penance in the Community

Exchange and Mediation

Gender Roles, Body Politics

Infirmity as Social Boundary

Conclusion: The Art of Healing

Epilogue: The Late Medieval Paintings

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >