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Narrative art in northern Europe, c.1140-1300: A narratological re-appraisal

Stuart Whatling

Submitted for the degree of PhD at
The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, (March 2010)

 

A few words about this on-line version...

In order to make my work more widely available (since I am unlikely to get the time to prepare this for normal publication for some years yet), I decided to place my thesis on the web. The conversion from MS Word was done in a rough and ready way using Adobe Dreamweaver (CS4), mostly using a laptop on a crowded train whilst on my daily commute to and from the City, so apologies for the rather clumsy formatting and layout.

For navigation, you can jump to any particular chapter/section using the contents table below, or read the text in sequence using the navigation tables that appear at the start and end of each section. Footnotes are at the end of each section - use the numbered links in the text to jump to a footnote and click on the number to the left of the footnote (or use the backspace key in Windows/Internet Explorer) to return to the place from where the footnote was referenced. Plates mentioned in the text can be viewed by clicking on the relevant link. These plates always open in a separate window, which will be re-used for subsequent plates - so there's need to keep closing those windows as you go. On the subject of images, the majority of the pictures used in this thesis are photographs that I took myself so there's no issue with copyright. For completeness I have also included those plates where I relied on images copied from books of other website. I believe the inclusion of such images here falls within the rules covering "fair-use". If the owners of copyright for any of those images disagree and object to their use in this way, please let me know and I will be happy to remove the image and replace it with an explanation and details of who requested its removal and why. My own view is that art historians have a duty to make images more widely available (as I always do with my own photographs) but I do appreciate that some of my colleagues feel differently about this. Note that the plates included in this part of my website were prepared for printing and therefore are less saturated than the original photographs - in many cases you may find much better images elsewhere on this site.

To make it easy to cite my thesis, in the unlikely event that anyone wants to, I have included the original page numbers from the text version (which is lodged at the Courtauld Institute Library) in square brackets throughout.

Finally I would like to add my thanks to my two external examiners, Sandy Heslop and Alixe Bovey, for their perceptive and helpful comments, many of which were reflected in the final draft of my thesis, which was submitted in September 2010.

Stuart Whatling, Tunbridge Wells, January 11th 2011.

 

CONTENTS
Abstract
Acknowledgements
Preface
1) Semiotic and cognitive models
- 1.a) making sense of images
- 1.b) not dead, just implied; the author-function in Christian narratives
- 1.c) activating the recipient; reader-response models
- 1.d) defamiliarisation - ‘readerly’ and ‘writerly’ texts
- 1.e) resembling or representing; the semiosis of medieval images
2) On narratology
- 2.a) narratives and narrativity - towards a definition
- 2.b) temporal ordering and pacing
- 2.c) focalization
- 2.d) background to a structural model of narrative
- 2.e) a structural model of narrative
- 2.f) on visual narratives
- 2.g) ordering and pacing in the second transformation
- 2.h) topoi - literary and visual commonplaces
3) Ontological and narratological implications of frames
- 3.a) {framing} frames
- 3.b) ontological implications of the {picture} frame
- 3.c) frame systems - {interpretive} macro-frames
- 3.d) border violations and the porosity of frames
- 3.e) narratological implications of the frame
4) Case study; the Charlemagne window at Chartres Cathedral
- 4.a) the story
- 4.b) background to the stories
- 4.c) the Charlemagne window as visual discourse
- 4.d) panel by panel breakdown
- 4.e) conclusions
5) Diegetic levels and their visualisation
- 5.a) embedded narratives
- 5.b) reporting the perceived
- 5.c) showing topics of conversation
- 5.d) depicting figures of speech
- 5.e) conclusions
6) Re-activating the recipient
- 6.a) metalepsis and other ‘frame paradoxes’
- 6.b) case study 1 - the Good Samaritan window at Bourges
- 6.c) case study 2 - the ‘royal Psalters’
- 6.d) case study 3 - the Bibles moralisées.
- 6.e) case study 4 - the dado sculpture on Auxerre Cathedral’s west façade
- 6.f) conclusions
7) The narrativisation of the object
- 7.a) first issue with iconicity; the nature of  the referent
- 7.b) second issue with iconicity; the nature of the likeness
- 7.c) mise en abyme as a strategy for narrativising the object
- 7.d) mise en abyme as a strategy for contextualising the object
- 7.e) conclusions
8) Three excursions; syntagmatic, paradigmatic and structural
- 8.a) syntagmatic excursus - the narratives of Limoges enamel
- 8.b) paradigmatic excursus - visualising Genesis 40
- 8.c) structural excursus - the topoi of ‘losing and finding but not recognising’
9) Visual Narratology as an Index of Artistic Identity
10) Conclusions
Bibliography

List of illustrations

The numbers below refer to the plates-- in Volume II of this thesis. Those pages are numbered according to the main chapter in which they are discussed. References to the plates are given in the text as ‘Fig. n.nn’ whilst references to text illustrations are given as ‘Figure nn’.

1) Semiotic and cognitive models
-  (no illustrations)

2) On Narratology
2.01 - Chartres bay 46 (Magdalen window), panels 06-07 (Funeral of Lazarus)
2.02 - Bourges bay 03 (New Alliance), panels 04-06
2.03 - Examples of overt taxonomic images in medieval art
2.04 - Examples of analytical images in medieval art
2.05 - Monoscenic and oligoscenic narratives serving to identify an extra-narrative iconic figure
2.06 - The discourse-oriented narrative mode
2.07 - The pseudo-narrative mode
2.08 - Boustrophedonic narrative - the Soissons Diptych
2.09 - Boustrophedonic narrative - the Sens Eustace window
2.10 - The {imprisonment} topos at Chartres and elsewhere

3) Ontological and narratological implications of frames
3.01- Some early frames (the Medea Krater, murals from Boscoreale and Boscotrecase)
3.02 - Frames as ontological markers -  1 (Petrus Christus)
3.03 - Frames as ontological markers -  2 (Augustine Gospels ‘Luke portrait’)
3.04 to 3.06 - Frames as ontological markers  (Gospels of Henry the Lion)
3.07 - {Interpretive} macro-frame for a typical 13th-century French window
3.08 - {Picture} frame violations in some early manuscripts
3.09 - Typical narrative functions of {picture} frame violations
3.10 - Framing narratives - Chartres bay 50 (the Incarnation window)
3.11 - Types of relationships between adjacent frames
3.12 - Framing narratives - Chartres bay 50 (the Incarnation window) again
3.13 - Relationships between adjacent frames - reiterative groups
3.14 - Relationships between adjacent frames - hinge function
3.15 - Relationships between adjacent frames - bounce back

4) Case study; The Charlemagne window at Chartres Cathedral
4.00 - Chartres, bay 07 (Charlemagne) - Overview
4.01 to 4.21 - Individual details of panels 01 to 21 of the Charlemagne window
4.22 - Panels 22-24 (the Mass of St Giles)
4.23 - Functional and structural repetitions
4.24 - The Porte-Oriflamme in bay 116, plus some crowned dreamers
4.25 - Depictions of cities, tugging the cloak-cord, Lorica squamata at Reims
4.26 - Comparison of various reliquaries in the Charlemagne window
4.27 - The tituli
4.28 - Scenes of the taking of a besieged city
4.29 - Alternative positions of panels 16 and 22
4.30 - Censing angels and the permeability of {picture} frame borders
4.31 - Bays 07 (Charlemagne) and 05 (St James)

5) Diegetic levels and their visualisation
5.01 - Christ as intradiegetic narrator of the Good Samaritan parable
5.02 - Reporting the perceived
5.03 - Showing the topic of conversations - ‘many mansions’
5.04 - Showing the topic of conversations - Second temptation
5.05 - Showing the topic of conversations - ‘Foxes have holes...’
5.06 - Showing the topic of conversations - Cloud frills

6) Re-activating the recipient
6.01 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - overview
6.02 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 20-22
6.03 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 15-19
6.04 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 10-14
6.05 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 05-09
6.06 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 01-04
6.07 - Bourges bay 13 (Good Samaritan) - panels 01-04 with metaleptic elements highlighted
6.08  - Introduction to the ‘royal Psalter’ prefatory cycles
6.09 to 6.16 - The Lewis Psalter
6.17 to 6.26 - The Křivoklàt Psalter
6.27 to 6.32 - The Oscott Psalter
6.33 to 6.34 - Paris, Bibl. Arsenal MS.1186
6.35 - Paris, Bibl. nat. ms. lat. nouv. acq. 1392
6.36 to 6.39 - Metalepses in Vienna 2554
6.40 to 6.41 - Metalepses in the Toledo Bible moralisée
6.42 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, David and Bathsheba - overview
6.43 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, David and Bathsheba - David watching Bathsheba
6.44 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, David and Bathsheba - David’s view through the window
6.45 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, Genesis - overview
6.46 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, Genesis - Noah’s ark
6.47 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, Joseph cycle - overview
6.48 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, Joseph cycle - panels 1 & 2 and 11 & 12
6.49 - Auxerre Cathedral west facade, Joseph cycle - Joseph’s escape from Potiphar’s wife

7) The narrativisation of the object
7.01 - The Parma Ildefonsus - 1
7.02 - The Parma Ildefonsus - 2
7.03 - More codices within codices
7.04 - A codes within its own presentation scene (the Chroniques de Hainaut)
7.05 - Some stained glass presentation scenes
7.06 - Another stained glass presentation scene (Tours, bay 201)
7.07 - The Rudolphus portable altar
7.08 - The Manasses orphrey
7.09 - The visual colophon at the end of the Toledo Bible moralisée
7.10 - The Poblet goblet
7.11 - Two mitres depicting Thomas Becket’s martyrdom

8)  Three excursions; syntagmatic, paradigmatic and structural
(Syntagmatic - narratives of Limoges reliquary chests)
8.01 - Chest of St Stephen
8.02 - Chest of St Martial
8.03 - Two chests of St Valerie (British Museum and Hermitage)
8.04 - Six more reliquary chests of St Valerie
8.05 - Two more reliquary chests of St Valerie (ex-Keir and ex-Dormeuil collections)
8.06 - Various Becket chests
8.07 - The St Calminius Chest
8.08 - A reliquary of the True Cross
8.09 - Two early chests with Christological scenes
8.10 - Various reliquary chests

(Paradigmatic - Visualising Genesis chapter 40)
8.11 - Bourges and Chartres
8.12 - Poitiers and Auxerre
8.13 - The Morgan Picture Bible
8.14 - Vienna 2554
8.15 - The Toledo Bible moralisée
8.16 - The St Louis Psalter
8.17 - Rouen south transept portal - scenes 1 and 2
8.18 - Rouen south transept portal - scenes 3 and 4

(Structural - the topos of ‘losing-finding-not recognising’)
8.19 to 8.26 - Scenes from the St Eustace story at Chartres, Sens,  Le Mans and Tours
8.27 - St Nicholas of Bari and the boy who falls overboard with a golden cup
8.28 - St Julien the Hospitaller

9) Visual narratology as an index of artistic identity
9.01 - Overview of the Bourges ambulatory glazing
9.02 - The Bourges ambulatory windows divided by workshops
9.03 - Explicit continuous panels in the St Nicholas window
9.04 - Explicit continuous panels in the St Nicholas window (contd)
9.05 - Explicit continuous panels in the Magdalen window
9.06 - Overview of the Passion window (bay 06)
9.07 - Examples of interacting panels in the Passion window (bay 06)
9.08 - Explicit-continuous panels in the windows of other workshops
9.09 - Discontinuous panels in the Magdalen window
9.10 - Chiastic explicit continuous panels in the Magdalen window
9.11 - Explicit-continuous panels in bay 113b at Poitiers
9.12 - Poitiers bay 117a (Joshua) - overview
9.13 - Explicit-continuous panels in bay 117a at Poitiers

 

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