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Emotion and Devotion

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Miri Rubin

Chapter 3. Emotions and Selves

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1Following the footsteps of Natalie Zemon Davis, and very much in her honor, the previous two chapters traced the possibilities of a global history and the creation of terrains of polemic and encounter within the vast and important culture field that developed around Mary in medieval Europe.

2In this chapter we will continue the enterprise of identifying Tasks and Themes in the Study of Europe-an Culture, by studying the emergence of a European style of emotive devotion. For in the centuries that followed the year one thousand, the Mary of prayer, the lady of intercession, became increasingly an enabling site for reflection on the expression of emotion. It began with the exploration of the happy motherhood of birth and nurture, and later also came to encompass the tragic motherhood of loss and mourning. I suggest that these images—the tender mother and child, the tragic pietà—produced in medieval Europe and later spread the world wide are still part of a European language of affect, part of what may make Europeans at some moments into an emotional community.

3I use the term emotional community, recently developed by the American scholar Barbara Rosenwein, in the book of 2006 which carries that name. She defines such a community as “groups in which people adhere to the same notions of emotional expression and value—or devalue—the same or related emotions.” This idea suggests something like the discursive frame of Foucault, and even more the habitus of Bourdieu, that is a frame of action and reflection which also privileges the body and its habits, space of performance and interaction between individuals. Rosenwein builds much on the work of Martha Nussbaum who talks of emotion as an “upheaval of thought” common to all people, deeply engrained in the mind. Rosenwein emphasizes more than Nussbaum does the cultural specificity of the articulation of emotion—which according to the Oxford English Dictionary describes “joy, love, anger, fear, happiness, guilt, sadness, embarrassment, hope.” It is a word that has only appeared quite recently in Anglophone usage, replacing the word Passion. She dismisses the evolutionary frame offered by Norbert Elias, who has had a great renaissance of late, and identifies variety in the practices of early medieval Europe—her own scholarly terrain— between many different frames of emotional propriety that defy a single diachronic progression.

4How can we know about emotions? How can we touch the private and the personal, how can we reach it within the public and collective spheres? Medieval historians do not expect to come across revealing ego-documents, though some noted autobiographies have survived, and other genres were also used—poetry, devotional writing—to convey explicit reflections on the self. When using such sources we must be attuned to the influence of genre and rhetoric, two associated resources available to educate people. It is also useful to think of ways in which people could express their identity and feelings in public and shared sphere: devotional behavior and comportment offered a whole array of prompts and opportunities for expression.

5Devotional images are resources which offered identifications, somewhat specular—prompting the question “could that be me?”—directive, alluring, and for us abundant. Images of Mary were particularly rich in offering opportunities for identification. So much of what was said of Mary, even more than is the case with her son, was expressed in the language of mimesis, an emotional register of communication. Example, imitation, and compassion were the emotional lessons taught by devotional writings. Moments for reflection on motherhood, conjugality, virginity, nurture, and bereavement, were all offered up around the wellknown and loved figure of Mary.

***

6The centers of discussion and production of ideas, rituals and artifacts related to Mary were monastic houses that maintained elaborate systems of liturgy and prayer. Monks and nuns devoted to the struggle against sin and immersion in devotional work were particularly aware of the precarious balance between human striving and human frailty. The eleventh and twelfth centuries saw the development of ideas and practices that offered believers avenues for penance and atonement. The idea of purgatory matured in the twelfth century; it became a place where believers suffered for minor sins after death, and for a limited period of time. Purgatory offered hope, but also the knowledge of pain, for all but the saints and the damned were expected to spend a period of purgation, cleansing, suffering in the middle place. In all these operations some consolation alleviated the occasional despair. The figure of Mary was a particularly efficacious companion; she could console but also act with miraculous interventions and intercession with her son.

  • 1 Some of Rachel Fulton’s recent work on the practices and experiences of prayer are now available i (...)
  • 2 Mary Jane Morrow, “Sharing Texts: Anselmian Prayers, a Nunnery’s Psalter, and the Role of Friendsh (...)

7We are best informed about the emotional worlds of monks and nuns in these centuries, lives that followed the rhythms of a rule, but were never fully circumscribed by it. Religious houses—and cathedrals within the hubbub of big cities—maintained unceasing routines of prayer, a blend of personal petitions within a collective liturgical format. As monks and nuns repeatedly intoned their psalms and the prayers at the daily mass, on feast days at commemoration of benefactors, they also developed a personal style of expression in prayer. We learn about such prayer from the compositions of renowned devotional poets—around 1100 the prayers composed by Anselm of Lucca and Anselm of Canterbury were subsequently requested, copied and cherished—and from the activities of composition and copying which routinely took place in religious houses.1 The prayers that drew so much favor were usually meditative in tone; they tended towards introspection and self-abasement. The illustrations which accompanied prayers within psalters sometimes capture the moment of adoration/prostration, like that of the nun adoring Christ in the Psalter of the nunnery at Shaftesbury, whose abbess Eulalia enjoyed a friendship with Anselm of Canterbury.2

8As the religious explored their inner selves and aimed to distance themselves from sin, Mary emerged as their companion. The struggle was a hard one, and in it Mary was frequently and increasingly chosen as a specialy friend. Her humanity was without doubt, and so was her unique affinity to the celestial realm, and to the source of all grace, her son. In monasteries and in some cathedral schools Europe’s theological settlement was being refined and disseminated further. In the conception of the Christian order there was increased emphasis on the necessity of the Incarnation, and of Mary’s role in bringing it about. Mary was increasingly and more passionately than before invoked in the prayers of monks and nuns, to whose search for consolation was added the sense of Mary’s unique powers to mentor and assist. Within monasteries, prayers and invocations were composed, and these were disseminated widely to interested and exalted lay people, to cathedrals and to priories.

  • 3 Notre-Dame de la Belle-Verrière, first window in the aisle of the choir, south side.
  • 4 See Virgin and Child in the church of Estables (Lozère); Elizabeth Saxon, The Eucharist in Romanes (...)

9This figure of Mary was one of justice and wisdom and maternal presence. The twelfth-century glass of Chartres Cathedral, that seat of one of Europe’s foremost schools, presented Mary as a crowned and jeweled woman, clad in blue, enthroned and facing the viewer, with her son in her lap.3 This is the figure of Mary as Seat of Wisdom, whose origins are in the imperial rendering of the Theotokos (Figure 5). By the twelfth century it was to be seen in the loftiest of choirs, like the gilt silver bejeweled Virgin and Child in Toledo Cathedral; by the early thirteenth also in the most modest of parishes.4

Seat of Wisdom Mother of God, of Ger, Wooden statue Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, second half of 12th century

10Marian lyrics and prayers, as well as visual representations, like the wooden statues so common in French parish churches, became available to lay people in local idioms and in familiar settings in the course of the late-twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The move to the spoken language meant that a wide range of genres was now used to discuss Mary. Every genre was linked to a set of social practices: works for teaching the people of the parish, poetry for the use of religious confraternities, guidebooks for pilgrims, collections of miracles in the vernacular, hymns and chanted prayers. Mary took on increasingly the colors of daily life; she dwelt within surroundings familiar to most people.

11The cultural shift that saw the re-making of Mary in the “mother” tongue inserted her into webs of identity and emotion that became part of the European experience for the many. Mary’s figure was unique since she was at once understood as a human but was also privileged with purity and virtue and the powers to act miraculously in the world. It was the exploration of Mary’s humanity which attracted most attention, and which inspired emotional responses, and this occurred above all when Mary was imagined as the mother of a tender child, or as the mother beholding the suffering of her grown son.

  • 5 Paul Binski, Becket’s Crown Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170–1300, London and New Haven (...)

12The traditional Mary of solemn statuesque presence was subtly being transformed in all media and many contexts of practice. The change rendered Mary a tender mother, engaged with her child. Mother and son were shown in touch and in play, smiling, gazing at each other and holding various object of natural beauty. From northern France spread a “Gothic” version of Mary and child in ivories and stone statues, and in them Mary stood with a child at her side, smiling, her body curved in an effort to balance the weight of her child (Figure 6).5 The cultural sphere of England, and parts of Germany and the Low Countries absorbed these lessons, producing ever more playful emotionladen figures of Mary. Frontal Mary was full of mystery and power, solid, erect, bearing memories of unknown majesty, eastern and ancient. The new Mary was young, tender and motherly.

Enthroned Virgin and Child, c. 1260–1280 French, made in Paris, elephant ivory with traces of paint and gilding New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection

  • 6 Suzanne Lewis, The Art of Matthew Paris in the Chronica Majora, Cambridge, 1987, frontispiece; Pau (...)

13The chronicler Matthew Paris was a sophisticated observer of European life in its many forms. Monk at the abbey of St Albans, he was familiar with the many genres of Mary lore, not least the traditions of miracle tales, so influentially collated a century earlier at his monastery by Abbot Anselm. His Chronica majora is illustrated by his own hand, and most impressive is a parchment leaf on which three images of Christ were drawn: Christ in his mother’s arms, Christ head on the Cross, Christ’s head in glory.6 Mother and child are shown as intimates; their faces touch and they bear a real family resemblance. Like so many creative people of his time Paris sought to represent an emotional bond between Mary and her son, and this bond was an offering to be replicated in the relations of monk to Mary, and by extension of each and every Christian and Mary. By viewing and reflecting upon the love between mother and child, Europeans were encouraged to ponder a whole range of feelings and possibilities in their own religious practice. Mary was transformed over these decades from wise and majestic to tender and beautiful.

14It was probably such a crowned Mary with a child in her womb the German poet Frauenlob (c. 1250–1318)—Henry of Meissen—one of the most original and startling poets of Mary, had in mind when he wrote:

Listen! I saw a vision:
a Lady on a throne.
Great with child, that woman
wore a wondrous crown.

  • 7 We are now fortunate in the new edition, translation and performance CD of Frauenlonb’s Song of So (...)

How she ached for the hour
of birth, the best of women!
In her crown of power
I saw twelve gemstones glisten.7

15Frauenlob delighted in the possibilities of a new intense emotional bond, which mirrored the physical closeness of mother and son. Rendered in courtly lyric this bond is unambiguously physical:

  • 8 wie wol er mich erkande,
    der sich so vaste in mich versloz!
    wer leit mich in der liljen tal,
    da min a (...)

How intimate he was with me
locked in my little room!
Who will lead me to the lily dell
where my courtly lover hid so well?
I am the high court’s chamber
where they heard the case of Eve’s fall –
I, the echo hall.
Dear friends, remember:
in the music of my dawn, I awake exalted song;
from ancient night I bring the morn.8

16From the figure of wisdom and majesty—so central to the practices centered on the struggle against sin and the rendering of self to judgement—Mary became in the vernaculars of Europe a contemporary child, adolescent, pregnant woman, wife, mother, neighbor, kinswoman; she was also imagined at work: cooking, feeding, spinning, and reading.

***

  • 9 For some very interesting reflections see Karl F. Morrison, The Mimetic Tradition of Reform in the (...)
  • 10 Just how much could go “wrong” in making the crucifix is made evident from the episode discussed i (...)

17The cultural trend towards imitation—mimesis— meant not only identification with the suffering of Christ, martyrs and saints, but also the search for vestiges of the holy in the mundanity of human life.9 Just as the enthroned Virgin became a vibrant figure of animated love, so the scene of the cross became a site of animated sadness. Quite like the transformation we just witnessed throughout the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries, that which produced the loving figure of mother and son, so it was with the scene of the Passion. From a scene of decorous witness, with Mary and John the Evangelist either side of the crucified Christ, his body calm and majestic, against a background of gold, the Passion was being explored for the possibilities of humanization. This meant not only greater care in the representation of Christ’s suffering body—always a balance between pain and abjection10—but also in the treatment of the witnesses, Mary and John. First with gentle hand gestures, then by the turning away of the head in pain, and ultimately, by the fourteenth century, with Mary utterly overcome by the sight.

18It is not surprising that the culture of religious display which was fostered in cities encouraged imitation and invention: it was in the cities of central Italy that Francis of Assisi developed his unique religious style and in the cities of the Low Countries that the message found such strong echo. In cities and courts, where a variety of styles was supported by leisure, wealth and the activism of townspeople—men and women—the most creative blends of the personal and the public, the abject and the celebratory developed in late medieval religion.

19The making of Mary familiar and vernacular was a long process in which friars engaged energetically. The world conjured in their preaching was produced from the dialectical movement between the lofty and the familiar, in human efforts to engage with the otherwordly. Hence, the central drama of salvation—the Passion—was retold through the eyes of a human; for highly privileged though Mary was she was but none the less human. Her witness, participation, suffering and imagined words attracted concerted literary, musical and visual efforts in the many genres of liturgy and drama, sermon and chant.

  • 11 Iohannis de Caulibus Meditaciones Vite Christi olim S. Bonaventuo attributae, ed. M. Stallings-Tan (...)
  • 12 “Videtur autem michi posse non incongrue dici quod non solum illa penalis et mortalis crucifixio D (...)

20The most widely copied, translated and used tract of this type is the Meditations on the Life of Christ, probably composed by the Tuscan Franciscan, John of Caulibus, c. 1300, and until recently usually ascribed to St Bonaventure.11 Here is a guide to Christ’s life in 108 chapters, from cradle to grave. The chapters are based on biblical scenes, and at their heart is the Passion with many scenes leading up to it. The details of Christ’s suffering are described by the author so as to conjure an image in the devotee’s mind, as if she were a witness, like Christ’s mother. The extent of elaboration is quite breathtaking, as the author himself admits in his account of the Passion based on Matthew 26:14–15: “It seems only right to tell not only of the penal and mortal crucifixion of the Lord, but also of those sufferings that were vehemently inflicted before it, of co-suffering, bitterness and stupor.”12 He then goes on to describe these acts of bitterness and torture in an abundance of detail animated by rhythmic repetition, in several short two-word phrases. Christ was given no rest in the lead-up to the Passion, all was struggle and conflict:

  • 13 “Non enim sibi datur uel modica requies. Sed in quali bello et conflictu, audi et uide. Alius enim (...)

One indeed seizes him;
another binds him;
another rises,
yet another cries out;
another pushes,
another curses;
another spits at him,
another shakes him;
another runs around in frenzy,
another questions him;
another seeks out false witnesses against him,
another bands up with them;
another bears false testimony against him,
another accuses;
another mocks,
another blindfolds him;
another turns his face,
another boxes his ears;
another leads him to the column,
another arranges him on it;
another hits him as he leads him,
another pierces him,
another shouts,
another raises him up scornfully so as to shake him violently,
another ties him to the column;
another strikes him,
another whips;
another dressed him in purple in contempt,
another crowned him with thorns;
another puts a reed in his hand;
another furiously raises him again so as to beat the head covered with thorns;
another kneels in derision, and many others inflict [in this manner].13

21The author addressed his audience, a Franciscan nun, with “listen and see,” making her a privileged witness, like Mary, at the unfolding events. Like her, she should be compassionately linked to the events. Meditational chapters were offered for each Hour of the nun’s day. It was a style of living, and of incessant feeling too, one intimately tied to Mary’s imagined experience.

22The vehicle for participation in Mary’s suffering was a visual one: viewing images and imagining the graphic scenes which Mary experienced through her own vision. The visual was the powerful prompt for memorialization and reliving—the imitatio—of Mary’s moment at the foot of the cross. English devotional poetry also emphasized Mary’s gaze, as it imagined a dialogue between mother and son:

“A son! Take heed to me whose son you were
and set me up with you upon the cross
For me here to leave, and you thus hence to go,
is great care and woe to me.
Cease now, Son, to be harsh to your mother,
You who were always good to all others.”

  • 14 Rendered by me into modern English from Middle English Marian Lyrics, ed. Karen Saupe, Kalamazoo ( (...)

“Stop now, Mother, and weep no more;
your sorrow and your discomfort grieve me greatly.
You know that in you I took human nature,
in it to be afflicted, for the sake of human sin.
Be now glad, Mother, and have in thought That human salvation,
that I have sought, is now found.
You shall not worry now about what you are to do,
Lo! John, your kinsman, will be your son.”14

23The shared gaze and the shared feeling made the experience of the Crucifixion into a devotional experience mediated above all by Mary.

  • 15 Bram Kempers, “Icons, Altarpieces, and Civic Ritual in Siena Cathedral, 1100–1530,” in City and Sp (...)
  • 16 The space has been recently excavated and the paintings revealed, and made accessible since 2004; (...)

24An extremely influential blending of styles and tastes—the static solemnity of Byzantine icons and the soft tones of French painting and sculpture—was achieved in Siena, a city which defined itself as Mary’s own.15 From the early thirteenth century local artists produced a local version of the highly influential Italo-Byzantine tradition: with much light, with warm skin tones, with highly decorative golden backgrounds. In Siena a European style developed, a combination of impulses towards delicate expressivity in figures who were still cast solemn and mournful. Mary was imagined as the solemn and majestic, as in the panel painting by the Master of Tressa for Siena Cathedral, the Madonna of the Large Eyes (Madonna dagli occhi grossi), in which her dark eyes are as penetrating as those shown on icons since the sixth century (Figure 7). Yet in the cathedral’s crypt Mary appeared in her new, vernacular style: as a mother taking her son to school, in wall paintings that adorned the space where pilgrims assembled for instruction before their visit to the Duomo.16 Mary was becoming at once increasingly visible in the decoration of churches, and a presence within domestic spaces, where private and family devotions were offered to her, a figure human and maternal.

Maestro di Tressa: Madonna degli occhi grossi, early 13th century Siena, Opera della Metropolitana, aut no. 1341/08

  • 17 “Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 2004–2005,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Fall 2005) (...)
  • 18 On this image see Beth Williamson, “The Virgin Lactans as Second Eve: Image of the Salvatrix,” Stu (...)

25The Sienese artist, Duccio di Buoninsegna (active by 1278–d. 1318) produced an image that captures much of this mood of tenderness around the figure of Mary and her Son. The small image, only 28 x 20.8 cm, was painted around 1295–1300, and was likely made for private devotional use. It is indeed extremely intimate, even when one sees it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Figure 8).17 Against a gold background and behind a painted parapet, Mary and child appear both highly traditional and dramatically new. Mary’s large and solid body envelops the small, seemingly light, baby Jesus, who reaches gently towards his mother’s face. Mary’s fingers both hold and caress the boy, as he plays with her veil. She in blue, he in glorious purple and red, they gaze and contemplate each other. The faces are shaped into a family resemblance, echoed in the intimacy of touch. This trend continued; and by the end of the fourteenth century Mary and Child groups have very distinctive features, detailed clothes and a family resemblance. Giovanni Fei’s (c. 1345–1411) panel in the great church from San Domenico in Siena, where the local saint Catherine of Siena habitually prayed, is an example of such bodily and familial closeness (Figure 9).18

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Madonna and Child New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paolo di Giovanni Fei: Madonna del latte Siena, Opera della Metropolitana aut. no. 1019, III, 6. Foto LENSINI Siena.

26Mary looks lovingly, but also sadly, at her son: Duccio’s mother and child form a truly devotional image, which delights but also transports the viewer. On Mary’s face mother love is apparent, but so is the foreknowledge of her child’s end, the Passion, the focus of devotional practices in these cities. Images sometimes combined, in diptych form, the beginning and end, Mary and Child alongside the Man of Sorrows, Christ of the Passion. Mary attended at the beginning—birth and infancy, but also, and increasingly, at the end (Figure 10).

Venetian Artist, Diptych, mid-14th century Tempera and gold on wood, right panel: 35.5x24.2 cm; left panel: 35.5x24 cm Esztergom, Christian Museum

  • 19 Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda Aa 32, fol. 71v.
  • 20 See for example the illumination in a mid-thirteenth-century manuscript of Welsh law, Oxford Bodle (...)

27At the beginning of our period visual representations of the Crucifixion placed it against abstract, even empty backgrounds, with John the Evangelist standing to Christ’s left and Mary to his right. Tuscan painted crucifixes were often accompanied by small figures of Mary and John either side of the middle of Jesus’s body. Throughout the thirteenth century the tilting of the head or wringing of hands and anxious bending of fingers increasingly expressed emotions.19 On the whole, Mary remained a figure of controlled sorrow, delicately symmetrical to that of John. But this balance was disrupted in the course of the thirteenth century as preaching and teaching of Jesus’s life and death to Europeans of village and city parishes emphasized his quite human suffering on the cross, and his mother’s subsequent agony. Scenes of the Crucifixion, now increasingly explored Mary’s experience. Her body sometimes recoils, leans away from the cross, both hands are thrown into the air.20 The tendency to dramatize Mary’s suffering allowed her to be seen in some alarming new positions: fainting, leaning, falling, sometimes pulling at her son’s body (Figure 11).

Thomas of Coloswar (active in the 1420, probably in Buda), Crucifixion altarpiece, 1427 Tempera and gold on wood central field: 242 x 177 cm Esztergom, Christian Museum

28The process by which Mary was made local and familiar encouraged the exploration of emotion and empathy. Medieval adherents wondered how like them Mary really was. The leading cultural trend was towards an emphasis on empathy and this was enacted in lay associations, confraternities. The urban habits of consumption and display, of association and performance, enabled lay people to explore and participate in the imitation of God and his Mother even beyond the parish church. We have already appreciated the visual prompts of meditational seeing; the chants created for the use of confraternities encouraged a rhythmic discipline of sound, and the mobilization of the body into the whole which was devotional consideration of the Passion.

29As we have seen in the preceding chapter confraternities were religious voluntary associations in which members explored devotional practices, commemorated the dead (and expected to be commemorated in turn), and joined people close to them in status and wealth in acts of charity and display. Here were devotional corporations with the collective power to act as patrons: they commissioned chants, music, drama, and art. Scores of such groups were recognized in big cities, and they were invited to participate in their livery in civic processions and contribute to the embellishment of the cityscape. Confraternities maintained chapels, invited preachers, commissioned altarpieces and processed. They acted privately as well as publicly, and offered a setting that was safe and familiar for enactment of devotion and the performance of extravagant emotion. The commonest themes were penitent flagellation, commemoration of the Crucifixion, and the praise of Mary.

  • 21 See some illuminating discussion in Anne Derbes, Picturing the Passion in Late Medieval Italy: Nar (...)
  • 22 Iacopone da Todi, Laude, ed. Ferdinando Pappalardo, Bari, 2006, no. 70, pp. 222–7.

30The principle of mimesis, which we have already encountered, combined the memory of suffering and the outpouring of praise. It was the very suffering of Mary that was praiseworthy, and worthy of remembering; this was the emotional challenge posed to confraternity members. While the Bible offered some detail, devotional writings, like the Meditations on the Life of Christ, offered elaborate detail. Works of art were inspired by the chapters of the Meditations and poetry too.21 By the end of the thirteenth century there is ever more explicit emphasis on suffering, and on Jewish guilt. The Donna de Paradiso (Lady of Paradise), a devotional poem composed by the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi (1230–1306), was used by many confraternities, copied into their chant books.22 It explored Mary’s pain as she witnessed the machinations of the crowd calling for Christ’s death. Here are scenes never recounted in scripture, nor even offered for meditation so explicitly in the Meditations; here is a heightening of the temperature, a conflagration which calls for revulsion, anger and a desire for revenge. The drama is enlivened in this poem by the dramatic form in which figures speak to each other, and especially Mary and her son. Mary is told of her son’s death, she is the witness to it, and hears the Jews cry.

  • 23Crucifige, crucifige!
    mo che se fa rege,”
    Ibid, lines 28–9, p. 223.

“Crucify him, crucify him,
the man who pretends to be king.”23

31Mary expresses her mother’s torment in alliterative mother language:

“O son, son, son,
son, beloved jewel!

Son, who will console
my anguished heart?

Son, happy eyes,
Son, why don’t you answer?

  • 24 “O figlio, figlio, figlio,
    figlio, amoroso giglio!
    Figlio, chi dà consiglio
    al cor me’ angustïato?

Son, why do you hide from
the breast where you fed?”24

32The book of the laudesi of Urbino was organized around points for contemplation. The section on Mary’s pain expresses a love of the suffering body:

  • 25 “Almio fillo beato
    Dulçe plu ke lo mele.
    Abbreuar li fo dato
    Mirra aceto effele.
    Era incroce clauato
    Lo (...)

To my glorious Son,
sweeter than honey, were given
myrrh, vinegar and bile.
He was nailed to the cross,
the sweet Emmanuel,
and the cruel people gave him even more bitterness.25

33Vernacular works such as this—passionate and graphic—were highly affecting. The drama was enacted between Mary and her Son, with John looking on and in the presence of the baying popolo—the Jews. Here is the version used by the flagellant society of Urbino, copied into its book of Marian chants:

Cry, earth, cry sea
cry the swimming fish;
cry beasts in the pasture cry birds in their flight.

Cry the good, cry the bad
cry people, all the same.
The celestial God has died
and not of a natural death.

  • 26 “Planga la terra. Planga lo mare. Planga lo pesce kesa motare. Plangan le beste nel pascolare. Pla (...)

Dead is the light and its splendor
dead the manna of great sweetness;
of amber and muscat the odor is dead
of roses and snow, the color is dead.26

  • 27 “Mamma lo planto keffai
    Sinne uno coltello
    Kettucto me ua tormentando,” Ibid, p. 21, 15/1; and “Vui (...)

34In turn, Jesus himself suffers as he hears his mother’s lament: “Mamma, your lament torments me like a knife.” Mary speaks her sorrow to the assembled, and thus animates their devotion: “You who love the Creator, now listen to my pain.”27

35New ways of experiencing Mary and the Passion were evolving in the vernacular usages of confraternities. The men charged with writing, guiding, composing and directing the performance of compassion clearly judged the graphic telling of the Passion through Mary’s eyes to be moving, effective and appealing. Texts and images put Mary center stage; they showed her suffering as only a mother can suffer over her son. They also increasingly singled out the Jews as the guilty cause for Mary’s terrible pain.

  • 28 Rüdiger Blumrich, Marquard von Lindau: deutsche Predigten, Tübingen, 1994, sermon 10, pp. 87–99.
  • 29 On the effect of preaching performance see discussions in the forthcoming volume Charisma and Reli (...)

36The Italian confraternities probably developed the most affective techniques for imitation of the Passion, supported by a multitude of professional facilitators and expressed in image, poetic rhythm, bodily response and human voice. Such styles of collective devotion never developed in England, for example. Even a Franciscan scholar and preacher like the German Marquard of Lindau (d. 1392), wrote German sermons which treated the Passion in a much more didactic manner. His sermon on Good Friday, for example, tells the story of the Passion, but links it tightly with the promise of redemption, based on the details of the gospel story, and on authoritative homiletics, such as the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux.28 The listener is invited to learn and appreciate the unfolding of a powerful drama of salvation, but there is far less call to join in and relive—be compassionate, feel with—the scene of the Passion. Preachers could not, of course, fully predict or control the responses to their words, but they provided cues;29 the emotional cues of Marquard seem quite different. In our thinking about devotion and emotion, we must aim to understand the varieties of devotional styles and related emotional experiences.

***

37I hope to have demonstrated through image and word, the creation of a world of affect, which both visualized emotion and invited response. Be it the tender embraces of mother and child or the mournful lament of a mother bereaved, the images and practices around Mary created possibilities of “emotional communities” and educated people in public participation. The symbol of nurture and symbol of loss, with her son from cradle to early grave, Mary encompassed life experiences in the language intimately used in the domestic spheres of work and education. Here was a European sentimental education which also marked indelibly those who were not formed by its rhythms and sensibilities—Mary’s enemies, such as Jews and Protestants—as flawed humans without a heart.

Notes

1 Some of Rachel Fulton’s recent work on the practices and experiences of prayer are now available in “Praying by Numbers,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, third series 4(2007), pp. 195–250 and “Praying with Anselm at Admont: A Meditation on Practice,” Speculum 81(2006), pp. 700–33.

2 Mary Jane Morrow, “Sharing Texts: Anselmian Prayers, a Nunnery’s Psalter, and the Role of Friendship,” in Voices in Dialogue. Reading Women in the Middle Ages, ed. Linda Olson and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Notre Dame (IN), 2005, pp. 97–113; see figure 2, p. 100.

3 Notre-Dame de la Belle-Verrière, first window in the aisle of the choir, south side.

4 See Virgin and Child in the church of Estables (Lozère); Elizabeth Saxon, The Eucharist in Romanesque France: Iconography and Theology, Woodbridge, 2006, p. 290.

5 Paul Binski, Becket’s Crown Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170–1300, London and New Haven (CN), 2004, pp. 232-5.

6 Suzanne Lewis, The Art of Matthew Paris in the Chronica Majora, Cambridge, 1987, frontispiece; Paul Binski “The Faces of Christ in Matthew Paris’s Chronica Majora,” Tributes in Honor of James H. Marrow: Studies in Painting and Manuscript Illumination of the late Middle Ages and Northern Renaissance, ed. Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Anne S. Korteweg, London, 2006, pp. 85–92.

7 We are now fortunate in the new edition, translation and performance CD of Frauenlonb’s Song of Songs in Barbara Newman, Frauenlob’s Song of Songs, University Park (PA), 2006, pp. 2–3:

Ei, ich sach in dem trone
ein vrouwen, die war swanger.
die trug ein wunderkrone
vor miner ougen anger.
Sie wolte wesen enbunden
sust gie die allerbeste.
zwelf steine ich zu den stunden
kos in der krone veste.

8 wie wol er mich erkande,
der sich so vaste in mich versloz!
wer leit mich in der liljen tal,
da min amis curtois sich tougen in verstal?
ich binz der sal,
dar inne man daz gespreche man um Evan val,
schone ich daz hal.
secht, lieben, secht:
min morgenröte hat erwecket
hohen sang und richen schal,
den niuwen tag der alten ancht,
Frauenlob’s Song of Songs, pp. 22–23; lines 19–29.

9 For some very interesting reflections see Karl F. Morrison, The Mimetic Tradition of Reform in the West, Princeton (NJ), 1982; for some ideas inspired by the study of Passion plays see Véronique Dominguez, La scène et la Croix: le jeu de l’acteur dans les Passions dramatqiues françaises (xive-xvie siècles), Texte, codex & contexte 2, Turnhout, 2007, esp. chapter 2.

10 Just how much could go “wrong” in making the crucifix is made evident from the episode discussed in Binski, Becket’s Crown, pp. 201-5.

11 Iohannis de Caulibus Meditaciones Vite Christi olim S. Bonaventuo attributae, ed. M. Stallings-Taney, CCCM 153, Turnhout, 1997; on Franciscan Passion poetry see F. J. E. Raby, History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages, London, 1953, chapter XIII, especially pp. 429–43.

12 “Videtur autem michi posse non incongrue dici quod non solum illa penalis et mortalis crucifixio Domini, sed ea que precesserunt eandem sunt uehementissime compassionis, amaritudinis et stuporis,” Iohannis de Caulibus Meditaciones, c. LXXIV, pp. 252–5; at p. 253.

13 “Non enim sibi datur uel modica requies. Sed in quali bello et conflictu, audi et uide. Alius enim apprehendit; alius ligat; alius insurgit, et alius exclamat; alius inpellit, alius blasphemat; alius expuit in eum, alius uexat; alius circumuoluit, alius interrogat; alius contra eum falsos inquirit testes, alius inquirentes associat; alius contra eum falsum testimonium dicit, alius accusat; alius deludit, alius occulos uelat; alius faciem cedit, alius colaphizat; alius eum ad columpnam ducit, alius expoliat; alius, dum ducitur, percutit, alius uociferat, alius eum insultanter ad uexandum suscipit, alius ad columpnam ligat; alius in eum impetum facit, alius flagellat; alius eum purpuram in contumeliam uestit, alius eum spinis coronat; alius arundinem in manu eius point; alius furibunde reaccipit ut spinosum capud feriat; alius nugatory genuflectit, alius sed alii plurimi intulerunt,” Ibid.

14 Rendered by me into modern English from Middle English Marian Lyrics, ed. Karen Saupe, Kalamazoo (MI), 1998, no. 36, pp. 90–91.

15 Bram Kempers, “Icons, Altarpieces, and Civic Ritual in Siena Cathedral, 1100–1530,” in City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe, ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Kathryn L. Reyerson, Minneapolis, 1994, pp. 89–136.

16 The space has been recently excavated and the paintings revealed, and made accessible since 2004; see Sotto il Duomo di Siena, ed. Roberto Guerrini and Max Seidel, Milan, 2003.

17 “Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 2004–2005,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Fall 2005), pp. 14–15.

18 On this image see Beth Williamson, “The Virgin Lactans as Second Eve: Image of the Salvatrix,” Studies in Iconography 19(1998), pp. 105–38; at pp. 116–18.

19 Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda Aa 32, fol. 71v.

20 See for example the illumination in a mid-thirteenth-century manuscript of Welsh law, Oxford Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C821; Peter Lord, The Visual Culture of Wales: medieval Vision, Cardiff, 2003, figure 268, pp. 172–3.

21 See some illuminating discussion in Anne Derbes, Picturing the Passion in Late Medieval Italy: Narrative Painting, Franciscan Ideologies, and the Levant, Cambridge, 1996; also Amy Neff, “The Pain of Compassio: Mary’s Labor at the Foot of the Cross,” Art Bulletin 80(1998), pp. 254–73.

22 Iacopone da Todi, Laude, ed. Ferdinando Pappalardo, Bari, 2006, no. 70, pp. 222–7.

23Crucifige, crucifige!
mo che se fa rege,”
Ibid, lines 28–9, p. 223.

24 “O figlio, figlio, figlio,
figlio, amoroso giglio!
Figlio, chi dà consiglio
al cor me’ angustïato?

Figlio occhi iocundi
figlio, co’ non respundi?

Figlio, perché t’ascundi
al petto o’ si lattato?,”
Ibid, lines 40–47, p. 223.

25 “Almio fillo beato
Dulçe plu ke lo mele.
Abbreuar li fo dato
Mirra aceto effele.
Era incroce clauato
Lo dulçe emanuele
Ela gente crudele
Lidava plu amarore.”
Giulio Grimaldi, “I Laudario de Disciplinati di S. Croce di Urbino,” Studj Romanzi 12(1915), p. 9.

26 “Planga la terra. Planga lo mare. Planga lo pesce kesa motare. Plangan le beste nel pascolare. Plangan laucelli nel lor uolare.
Planga lo bene. Planga lo male. Planga la gente. Tucta ad uguale. Morte lo rege celestiale, enno de morte sua naturale. Morte lo lume. Elo splendore. Morte lo manna delgran dulçore. Danbra emmoscato mortellodore. De neue errose morte el colore,” Ibid., pp. 1–96; no. 10, pp. 13–15; stanza 1, 4 and 5, pp. 13–14.

27 “Mamma lo planto keffai
Sinne uno coltello
Kettucto me ua tormentando,” Ibid, p. 21, 15/1; and “Vui kea mate lo creatore/ Ora intendate lo mio dolore,” p. 15, 11/1.

28 Rüdiger Blumrich, Marquard von Lindau: deutsche Predigten, Tübingen, 1994, sermon 10, pp. 87–99.

29 On the effect of preaching performance see discussions in the forthcoming volume Charisma and Religious Authority: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Preaching 1200–1500, ed. Katherine L. Jansen and Miri Rubin, Europe Sacra 4, Turnhout, forthcoming in 2010.

Table des illustrations

Légende Seat of Wisdom Mother of God, of Ger, Wooden statue Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, second half of 12th century
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 189k
Légende Enthroned Virgin and Child, c. 1260–1280 French, made in Paris, elephant ivory with traces of paint and gilding New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 179k
Légende Maestro di Tressa: Madonna degli occhi grossi, early 13th century Siena, Opera della Metropolitana, aut no. 1341/08
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 297k
Légende Duccio di Buoninsegna: Madonna and Child New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 355k
Légende Paolo di Giovanni Fei: Madonna del latte Siena, Opera della Metropolitana aut. no. 1019, III, 6. Foto LENSINI Siena.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 371k
Légende Venetian Artist, Diptych, mid-14th century Tempera and gold on wood, right panel: 35.5x24.2 cm; left panel: 35.5x24 cm Esztergom, Christian Museum
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 570k
Légende Thomas of Coloswar (active in the 1420, probably in Buda), Crucifixion altarpiece, 1427 Tempera and gold on wood central field: 242 x 177 cm Esztergom, Christian Museum
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/435/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 541k

© Central European University Press, 2009

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540