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Grant number: FT-60747-13

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Mitchell Bennett Merback
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2625)

Solidarities of Mercy: Visual Poetics of Late Gothic in the Tyrol, 1400-1525

This project meets a challenge of the trans-discipline known as Visual Culture by folding the historical-anthropological study of ritual into descriptive analyses of sacred environments. For present purposes, those rituals are the special masses, processions, and prayers performed on behalf of the dead in purgatory, key rites of associational worship in later medieval religion. The sacred environments studied here will be a sample of ten church interiors, concentrated in the South Tyrol-Alto Adige region, all dated to the period between 1475 and 1525. The larger project of which this is a part addresses the visual poetics of late Gothic interior spaces featuring large winged altarpieces, a species of monument that combines painting, sculpture, and micro-architecture. Iconographic patterns in Tyrolean monuments point to an enduring thematization of a great chain of intercessionary mercy connecting divine and human, heavenly and earthbound, clerical and lay, living and dead beings.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2013 – 6/30/2013