The Iconography of Audience in the Cuzco Corpus Christi Paintings


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

Drama audiences appear in a number of well-known medieval and renaissance art works.1 Two manuscript illustrations, the Jerusalem entremet (1378) and Jean Fouquet's Martyrdom of St. Apollonia (c.1460), show courtly audiences.2 The Arsenal Terence frontispiece,3 paintings of two Louvain pageant wagons of 1594, Daniel van Alsloot's illustrations of the Brussels pageant of 1615,4 and at least two seventeenth-century paintings by Jan Steen5 feature audiences of townspeople. A sixteenth-century painting by Pieter Balten after Peter Breughel the Elder6 and a Flemish drawing of 15427 showing comic scenes on outdoor platform stages portray peasant audiences. The audiences in the manuscript illustrations are idealized, showing little portraiture. The painter-producer Fouquet's courtly audience at the miracle play of St. Apollonia and the nobles of the Jerusalem entremet behave themselves too decorously; these subdued and attentive audiences seem to flatter the courtly readership for whom the minatures were painted. The audiences of townspeople and peasants are also decorous although they gesture and show active interest. As supposed records of actual audiences, there are no signs here of misbehavior of the kinds for which. we know fines were levied,8 nor are there any traces of problems with crowd control and rowdyism, both of which are revealed by extant municipal records.

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