Article Title

Wisdom Enthroned: Iconic Stage Portraits


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Art history has provided an invaluable resource for modern directors of medieval plays. As an encyclopedia of style, medieval paintings, woodcuts, and doorway sculpture have helped to establish the historic credibility of recent medieval drama productions, for instance, at Bristol, Toronto, Leeds, Indiana, Michigan, and Western Michigan Universities. By verifying that clothing details - shoe styles (blunted or pointed), head-gear, length and fullness of sleeves or mantles-accord with a specific date and a particular place, a customer may avoid the unintended comedy of placing an Elizabethan courtier side-by-side with a Chaucerian peasant, thus helping to dispel the lingering notion that history ceased to function during several medieval centuries.1 Or a director of mystery plays can select historically appropriate anachronisms-for instance, costuming a fifteenth-century Caesar Augustus as a medieval king rather than a Roman emperor.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.