Autonomy and the Cura Monialium in Female Monastic Art

the fifteenth-century Illuminated Manuscripts from the Dominican Monastery of Jesus of Aveiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Scholars have been studying images produced by nuns in the late Middle Ages, paying special attention to the illumination of devotional texts where the absence of models gave rise to non-canonical images, closely related with a visually centred piety. Among the manuscripts from the female scriptorium of Aveiro, some liturgical books stand noticeably outside canonical models, as a result of their illuminations, despite their being in accord with normative precepts. Considering the rigour and standardization to which liturgical manuscripts were subject, analysing these images solely as a product of the nature of female piety seems simplistic. The role of the cura monialium in the community’s spiritual and temporal autonomy, especially where art is concerned, needs further analysis in order to understand the background to these images. As this paper will show, Aveiro’s scenes seem to have been informed by a complex visual culture where the nuns’ own voice is intertwined with the cura monialium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-505
Number of pages21
JournalJournal Of Medieval History
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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Autonomy
Monastery
Illuminated Manuscripts
Art
Dominicans
Jesus
Illumination
Manuscripts
Nuns
Piety
Precepts
Liturgical Books
Visual Culture
Standardization
Scriptorium
Late Medieval Period

Keywords

  • Female monasticism
  • Female agency
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Dominican nuns
  • cura monialium

Cite this

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title = "Autonomy and the Cura Monialium in Female Monastic Art: the fifteenth-century Illuminated Manuscripts from the Dominican Monastery of Jesus of Aveiro",
abstract = "Scholars have been studying images produced by nuns in the late Middle Ages, paying special attention to the illumination of devotional texts where the absence of models gave rise to non-canonical images, closely related with a visually centred piety. Among the manuscripts from the female scriptorium of Aveiro, some liturgical books stand noticeably outside canonical models, as a result of their illuminations, despite their being in accord with normative precepts. Considering the rigour and standardization to which liturgical manuscripts were subject, analysing these images solely as a product of the nature of female piety seems simplistic. The role of the cura monialium in the community’s spiritual and temporal autonomy, especially where art is concerned, needs further analysis in order to understand the background to these images. As this paper will show, Aveiro’s scenes seem to have been informed by a complex visual culture where the nuns’ own voice is intertwined with the cura monialium.",
keywords = "Female monasticism, Female agency, Illuminated manuscripts, Dominican nuns, cura monialium",
author = "Paula Cardoso",
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