Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Stratification of Death in the Northern Renaissance: A Reconsideration of the Cadaver Tombs of England And Germany
by Gratson, Scott, Ph.D., Temple University, 2019, 257; 13861699
Abstract (Summary)

This analysis is on the function of cadaver or transi tombs in the south of England and Germany from the fifteenth to early sixteenth centuries, at particular moments when theological and cultural shifts related to Church reforms and the Reformation were tethered to new considerations about death, memorial, and changing concepts of the soul and matter. The study begins with a focus on the tombs of Henry Chichele (1364–1443) in Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, and Alice de la Pole (1404–1475) of Saint Mary’s Church in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England. Additionally, the memorial relief of Ulrich Fugger (1441–1510) in Saint Anna's Church in Augsburg, Germany, acts as a bridge to Hans Holbein’s painted Dead Christ in the Tomb (1521) in the Kuntsmuseum Basel, in which Christ is simultaneously portrayed as an effigy, transi, and resurrected body. This was also an extended period when notions of visuality changed, along with preferences for different media and pressures on images and objects. As the demands of verisimilitude and discourses about presence and matter changed, media progressed from three-dimensional sculpture and carved relief to oil paint on wood. Transi tombs embodied this trajectory, altering uses and impressions of materials as they progressed from metal to stone to relief carving and paint. Transi tombs, in particular, structured time as a malleable construct, through the incorporation of varying images and their configuration in different visual strata and degrees of vividness and decay. By merging motifs of the dead with the Resurrected Christ, the transi tomb phenomenon situated death in relation to the viewer’s experience of mortality, memorial, and remembrance. Through these changing images and media, public perception of death was inextricably transformed, coinciding with the advent of the Reformation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: West, Ashley
Commitee: Cooper, Tracy, Glahn, Philip, Weigert, Laura
School: Temple University
Department: Art History
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: European history, Art history
Keywords: Death, England, Germany, Holbein, Reformation, Tombs
Publication Number: 13861699
ISBN: 978-1-392-18602-2
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