Questions on the Well of Moses and the ‘Punctum’ of Piety

Questions on the Well of Moses and the Punctum of Piety

 

  1. How does the Well of Moses relate to Carthusian piety?

 

  1. Do you think Philip the Bold consciously emulated his royal forebears in his artistic patronage?

 

  1. Do you think it is possible to turn a contemporary theoretical lens on a medieval work of art?

 

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3 responses

  1. I’m usually fairly reluctant to use any contemporary theoretical lens on medieval art; it often leaves me with the sense that a very modern idea has been squeezed into a medieval space where it doesn’t comfortably fit. As a result, the use of Barthes to understand the Well of Moses is a bit difficult for me to grasp (although my general dislike of Barthes could be prejudicing me!). I will say, however, that the passage discussing photography’s similarities with theatre because of its associations with the cult of death–“a figuration of the motionless and made-up face beneath which we see the dead”–does seem like such an apt and insightful way to think about images/performances of the Passion.

  2. As members of contemporary society, educated in a contemporary system, is it possible for us to avoid using, at least in part, a contemporary theoretical lens when examining works of art from any period?

  3. I think it is possible (and useful) to turn a contemporary theoretical lens on a medieval work of art. While there are of course variations throughout different periods of art history, there are also similarities. Using contemporary theory is a good way to highlight these comparisons. Theory can also help put otherwise foreign concepts into terms more familiar to the contemporary viewer.

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