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In Memoriam Defunctorum: Visual Arts As Devices Of Memory

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Chapter Summary

The major shift in the social construction of the role of the artist and his activity came towards the end of the fifteenth century and coincided with the end of the Middle Ages. This chapter first characterizes the theme of religious memory, then reviews the ways in which visual arts were employed in its service. It tries to find out whether there might have been some points of contact between the rules and devices of intellectual mnemonics on the one hand, and images or structures in the funeral and memorial contexts on the other. In the Middle Ages, the term memoria denoted not only the capacity to save and retrieve information, but also "liturgical and paraliturgical practices that established a community between the living and the dead and maintained the presence of the dead among the living.&t;.

Keywords: intellectual mnemonics; memoria; middle ages; religious memory; visual arts



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