Title

’The Worthless Stories of Pilgrims’? The Art Historical Imagination of Fifteenth-Century Travelers to Jerusalem

Abstract

This study analyzes what fifteenth century pilgrims from northern Europe wrote about the art and architecture they encountered while on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Although these pilgrims did not have the discipline of art history, they nonetheless had a strong art historical imagination that conditioned their reception of old art and architecture. Their attempts at dating objects demonstrate a pre-modern periodization in which important rulers or dynasties matter most, and the terms medieval and Renaissance are unknown. They expected striking objects to have significant histories, studied those objects appearance for clues to those histories, and read a city’s buildings as a trustworthy barometer of its vitality. Lacking our hierarchy of fine and applied arts, they were open to appreciate a wide range of objects, which they frequently praise in terms of their workmanship.

Publisher

Brepols Publishers

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Publication Title

Viator

Department

Art

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1484/J.VIATOR.1.103486

Language

English

Format

text

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