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Re-Inventing Traditions

On the Transmission of Artistic Patterns in Late Medieval Manuscript Illumination


Edited By Joris Corin Heyder and Christine Seidel

The volume comprises 16 papers given at the conference Re-Inventing Traditions held in Berlin in 2012. It negotiates the question of the transmission of artistic patterns in late medieval manuscript illumination. The model as such is often regarded as a mere working tool but recently the conditions of its creation and transformation have been discovered as a field of research. Among the central themes of these essays are textual tradition, workshop methods and the development and changeability of artistic models throughout different media and in various European regions.
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Exemplary martyrdoms – lost examples. Some theses on the miniatures in the so-called “martyrology” in the Cini Foundation and three related copy drawings: Marion Heisterberg


Marion Heisterberg

Exemplary martyrdoms – lost examples. Some theses on the miniatures in the so-called “martyrology” in the Cini Foundation and three related copy drawings*


Against the background of the charitable activities of death brotherhoods in 14th and 15th century Italy, this article focuses on the Ferrarese lay confraternity of the “Battuti Neri”, which dedicated itself to the final care and conversion of convicts condemned to death. Among the various media which the brotherhood made use of during the convict’s last hours, the so-called “martyrology”, a rare document preserved on the premises of the Cini Foundation in Venice, apparently played a major role. By means of a detailed comparison of three extant copy drawings and related miniature scenes in the martyrology, the article not only dwells on, but partially substantiates some previous art historical debates. In addition, a possible model for both the drawings and the scenes in the martyrology is suggested.


In the late 14th and 15th centuries, lay confraternities dedicated to penitent charitable activities played a major role in the social consistency of the Italian civic community. One field of activity which increasingly developed as a speciality of these penitent brotherhoods consisted in the terminal care and subsequent burial of those who for their crimes had been excluded from the city republics, having been condemned to death by the legal authorities.1 The benefits of these deeds were twofold: on the one hand, the soul of the delinquent himself...

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