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Master of Death: The Lifeless Art of Pierre Remiet, Illuminator
Michael Camille's "history of death in miniature" explores not just the life and death of a single medieval artist, nor a society's obsession with the macabre, but the relation between mortality and image-making itself. Camille argues that the medieval world perceived death as larger than life, that death was implicit at birth and stretched beyond the end...
Michael Camille's "history of death in miniature" explores not just the life and death of a single medieval artist, nor a society's obsession with the macabre, but the relation between mortality and image-making itself. Camille argues that the medieval world perceived death as larger than life, that death was implicit at birth and stretched beyond the end of life to the resurrection of the body at the Last Judgement. Each of Camille's chapters, framed by an imagined account of Remiet's last hours in 14th-century Paris and illustrated wih examples of his paintings, follows this path of death. Camille describes the theological origins of death and its physical beginnings at birth. He shows how representations of death shaped medieval motions of the historical past. He tells us that in the medieval period, people were constantly preparing themselves for death, as shown by Remiet's image of the figure of Death waiting at the end of the pilgrimage of human life. And he explains that Remiet's frequent depiction of the rotting corpse reveals his society's dreaded anticipation of the end of time when, reawakened in the flesh, each individual would face the threat of an eternal and terrifying second death.
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