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Chapter Summary

In exploring the changing conceptions of time expressed in medieval and Renaissance visual arts, the different ways in which movements of cultural and intellectual history helped shape attitudes, are seen. Visual expressions of these concepts and attitudes were literal illustrations of texts. The reverse process was demonstrated, for example, by the rota diagrams in medieval computistic and cosmological manuscripts, which were frequently created before the texts. One must take into account that Petrarch's text was scholarly and introspectively philosophical, whereas the early illustrators were endeavoring to express concepts of time in mundane terms. This chronological overview of time in the visual arts of western culture has underlined milestones of iconographical and conceptual innovation without undermining the weight of precedents and traditions. Questions of continuity and change in the relationship of what we distinguish as medieval and Renaissance cultures are continuously reassessed through the focus on time.

Keywords: cosmological manuscripts; medieval cultures; Petrarch's text; Renaissance visual arts; rota diagrams



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