Conférence : Alice Bovey, « The House of Mirth: the ethics of laughter and ridiculous Gothic art », Londres, The Courtauld, 26 mars 2024

Medieval art frequently juxtaposes sacred texts and spaces with witty, satirical, silly, and sometimes arrestingly crude images.  Nuns dance barefoot, fox-bishops preach to their prey, and disembodied bottoms trumpet in stained glass, sculpture, and the margins of books that contain scripture, prayers, and liturgy.

From the time that they were made, such images have provoked amusement and bemusement, ire and iconoclasm. They have found new admirers in the instagram age, harp-playing donkeys and knights riding chickens offering radically-decontextualised micro-jolts of dopamine to doom-scrollers.

Responding to the ideas of other scholars (including Huizinga, Bakhtin, Eco, Randall, Camille, Binski, Sandler and Jones) who have considered seriously the comical medieval image, this lecture surveys the problem of laughter in medieval art. It sets intentionally ridiculous Gothic images in the context of biblical ambivalence about laughter; medieval preachers’ understanding of the rhetorical power of comedy; and Thomas Aquinas’s attempt to reconcile canonical Christian authorities’ views on mirth with Aristotle.

With a particular focus on visual humour in the places where Thomas lived and worked during his lifetime (c.1225-1274), this lecture explores how Thomas’s laughter ethics might relate to the play of images around him. With Aristotelian-Thomistic laughter in mind, it then considers the implications of visual jokes originally conceived by and for small, elite groups in the Middle Ages as they reach a mass audience on social media today.

26 Mar 2024
18.00 – 20.00
Free, booking essential
Vernon Square Campus, Lecture Theatre 2

Source



Citer ce billet
Florence Larcher (2024, 7 mars). Conférence : Alice Bovey, « The House of Mirth: the ethics of laughter and ridiculous Gothic art », Londres, The Courtauld, 26 mars 2024. Centre d'Histoire de l'Art de la Renaissance. Consulté le 24 mai 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/vz3h

Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches sur les images de saint Roch en Italie de 1350 à 1680 l'amènent à étudier la peinture murale, la sérialité et l'itinérance des peintres.

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