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Imagining The Temple In Late Medieval Spanish Altarpieces

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on architectural representations in one of the art forms created by both Jews and Christians: the altarpiece or retablo. This form of painting came into widespread use as the result of a ruling by the Lateran Council of 1215 that worshippers should be able to view the Transubstantiation, the moment during the mass when the wafer is believed to become the body of Jesus. The chapter discusses depictions of the Temple and the Jewish quarters on Aragonese altarpieces and suggests that their appearance was rooted in local architecture which was invested with symbolic value. For Christian artists of medieval Spain, and for Jewish artists who worked for Christian patrons, the local synagogue became the emblematic Jewish space for events dating to the lifetime of Jesus and early saints.

Keywords: Aragonese altarpieces; Christian artists; Jews; medieval Spain; retablo



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