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[Ger.: ‘devotional image’]. Type of religious image intended for devotional contemplation and the stimulation of affective piety that evolved in the late Middle Ages. Many of these images were developed in the 14th century in response to the writings of the Cistercians and Benedictines, in particular, but also of the Franciscans and Dominicans. Many of the authors encouraged self-identification with the joys and sufferings of the Virgin and Christ, and the images served as a means of meditating on the events described in the texts. They were frequently painted on small panels or illustrated in Books of Hours and were available to a wider audience through woodcuts and engravings. Larger carved representations and altarpieces were also common in churches.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.