An Iconographic Study of Two Poems in Manuscript C - Abstract

Title: An Iconographic Study of Two Poems in Manuscript C
Presenter: Domenic Leo

This essay presents studies of the iconographic programs in two poems: the Tale of the Lion (Lyon) and Fortune’s Remedy (Remède).

In the Lyon, I focus on the rapport between text and image based on the opening miniature, oftentimes described as the ‘first landscape’. The subject matter is a lush garden. Rather than an ‘action’ scene which depicts figures engaged in visualizing the subject matter, this is a ‘passive’ scene where neither the narrator nor any other figure is present. Consequently, for the viewer/reader, this miniature becomes a window which blurs the rapport between him and the textual ‘je’. It temporarily propels him into the thoughts and the visual scope of the narrator.

In the Remède I analyze text-image rapports in the iconography of self-presentation. The artist who constructed the visual identity of the first-person narrator relied on sartorial and compositional signifiers. The artist has carefully created meticulously detailed representations of clothing. One element in particular is the enigmatic pink ‘pillbox’ hat, worn by: the god of Love (in The Judgment of the King of Bohemia), the lady, the ‘king’ on the Wheel of Fortune, and the author-narrator. Though this may denote the author-narrator’s desire for the lady, it operates at the highest level of decorum. The compositions reinforce the impossibility of this relationship. One example of the ‘iconography of exclusion’ is the opening miniature for the Remède. Two men look on as a lady turns to speak to them. Her space is separated from the men by a wall that literally blocks them from sharing it.

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