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Miracles in Monochrome: Grisaille in Visual Hagiography

Presciutti, Diana B (2019) 'Miracles in Monochrome: Grisaille in Visual Hagiography.' Art History. ISSN 0141-6790 (In Press)

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Abstract

Through an examination of the miracles of Anthony of Padua painted by Girolamo da Treviso in the Saraceni Chapel (1525–26), I demonstrate here the complex ways in which monochrome painting would have created meaning for diverse audiences. I argue that the use of grisaille in the chapel, by visually evoking marble relief, did many things at once: it presented both established and lesser-known miracles as reliable evidence of Anthony’s saintly power, ‘carved’ in immutable stone; it conjured the specific thaumaturgical context of the burial shrine, with its elevated marble tombs; and it activated the paragone to produce sensations of both intimacy and distance, and to foster both comprehension and confusion. Taking as a case study visual hagiography – a form of pictorial narrative that addressed multiple audiences and engaged dynamically with both visual and textual precedents, this study sheds new light on the semantic operations of grisaille in Renaissance visual culture.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 09:35
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 19:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24663

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