Open Books: performativity and mediation in elite women’s effigies at Lisbon Cathedral (14th c.)

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Abstract

This article uses the concept of performance to think about four fourteenth-century Portuguese monuments with effigies of elite women holding open books in their hands. It proposes looking at them as builders of a reading/praying experience aimed at engaging their viewers by converting the dead into undying performers who in turn encourage their audiences to imitate their performance. The sculpted women operate as activators of a mediation between the artwork and its audiences, the terrestrial and the celestial, the bodily and the spiritual, timelessness and mortality, the personal and the social, presence and absence, the word and silence, the contemplative and the performative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-221
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Medieval Iberian Studies
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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