Thresholds and Boundaries: Liminality in Netherlandish Art (1385-1530), 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Thresholds and Boundaries

Liminality in Netherlandish Art (1385-1530), 1st Edition

By Lynn F. Jacobs


240 pages

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Although liminality has been studied by scholars of medieval and seventeenth-century art, the role of the threshold motif in Netherlandish art of the late fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries -- this late medieval/early ‘early modern’ period -- has been much less fully investigated.  Thresholds and Boundaries: Liminality in Netherlandish Art (1385-1550) addresses this issue through a focus on key case studies (Sluter's portal of the Chartreuse de Champmol and the calendar pages of the Limbourg Brothers' Très Riches Heures), and on important formats (altarpieces and illuminated manuscripts).  Lynn F. Jacobs examines how the visual thresholds established within Netherlandish paintings, sculptures, and manuscript illuminations become sites where artists could address relations between life and death, aristocrat and peasant, holy and profane, and man and God—and where artists could exploit the "betwixt and between" nature of the threshold to communicate, paradoxically, both connections and divisions between these different states and different worlds. Building on literary and anthropological interpretations of liminality, this book demonstrates how the exploration of boundaries in Netherlandish art infused the works with greater meaning.  The book's probing of the -- often ignored --meanings of the threshold motif casts new light on key works of Netherlandish art.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

1. Liminality, Thresholds and Boundaries

Part II: Case Studies

2. The Threshold of Death: Sluter’s Portal of the Chartreuse de Champmol

3. The Boundary of Class: The Calendar of the Très Riches Heures

Part III: Studies in Format

4. The Thresholds of Manuscript Illuminations

5. The Thresholds of Altarpieces

Part IV: Coda

6. Liminality in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Painting


About the Author

Lynn F. Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas. Her previous publications have included two books -- Early Netherlandish Carved Altarpieces: Medieval Tastes and Mass Marketing and Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted -- as well as articles in Art Bulletin, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Jaarboek Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte and elsewhere. In 1990 her Art Bulletin article was awarded the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize by the College Art Association.

About the Series

Visual Culture in Early Modernity

A forum for the critical inquiry of the visual arts in the early modern world, Visual Culture in Early Modernity promotes new models of inquiry and new narratives of early modern art and its history. We welcome proposals for both monographs and essay collections that consider the cultural production and reception of images and objects. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to, painting, sculpture and architecture as well as material objects, such as domestic furnishings, religious and/or ritual accessories, costume, scientific/medical apparata, erotica, ephemera and printed matter. We seek innovative investigations of western and non-western visual culture produced between 1400 and 1800.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
ART / History / General
ART / European
ART / History / Medieval
ART / Subjects & Themes / General
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Europe / Western
HISTORY / Medieval
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 16th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural