Artists, audience, and ambivalence in Marco Polo's Divisament dou monde

Strickland, D.H. (2005) Artists, audience, and ambivalence in Marco Polo's Divisament dou monde. Viator, 36, pp. 493-529.

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This study seeks to restore the visual dimension of the late medieval experience of Marco Polo's Divisament dou monde by examining the two most famous and lavishly illustrated copies, Bodley 264 and French 2810, both executed in the fifteenth century for courtly patrons. Although the images in these manuscripts differ stylistically and iconographically in significant ways, it is suggested that they accomplish the same ideological objectives of making Eastern court culture coherent to a Western audience, upholding traditional conceptions of the exotic East, and eliciting wonder. Particular importance is attached to portrayals of the Great Khan, the Tartars, and Mongolian cities, for which artists supplied models that often contradicted the text. It is argued that these artistic contradictions were necessary in order to meet patrons' demands for the marvelous, and that their ultimate effect was to encourage ambivalent attitudes towards the East that comprised a fundamental aspect of medieval Orientalism.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Strickland, Professor Debra
Authors: Strickland, D.H.
Subjects:Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Journal Name:Viator

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