Metaimages have benefited from scholarly attention in recent decades, but not all periods and geographical areas have received equal attention. Most importantly, no comparative studies have been conducted with respect to late medieval Byzantium and Italy. This essay is the first attempt to investigate one instance of these reflexive images—that is, metapaintings—from a comparative point of view, highlighting how they are visually structured and the meanings they convey in each tradition. We explore the logic of metapainting, starting with the historical dimension of the scenes, then the transcendent and eternal power of the enshrined devices, and finally their reflection of contemporary devotion and the active role of the late medieval viewer. By unfolding these three dimensions, this essay argues that the meta in metapainting is the images’ ability to connect the fourteenth-century viewer to a historical and prestigious past that they visually celebrate, but also to testify to the power of devotional images and their performances in a permanent way for any viewer at any given time.
Puma, Giulia and Rossi, Maria Alessia
"Metapainting in Fourteenth-Century Byzantium and Italy: Performing Devotion Through Time and Space,"
Studies in Iconography: Vol. 42, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/studies_in_iconography/vol42/iss1/5