Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mustari, Louis Frank, 1930-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Mirror-cases; Courtly love in art; Ivories; Gothic


Ivory carving, perhaps more so than any other popular art form of the Gothic era (c. 1150-1450), departed from the traditional forms of sacred art, which required only religious iconography, and established a new outlet for the medium: decorating functional objects with scenes of secular imagery. One source of inspiration for these secularized scenes was the daily activities of courtly lords and ladies who lived their lives in accordance with the prescribed doctrines of chivalry and courtly love. Profane literature, both directly and indirectly, provided another source of iconography for the ivory carvers, for it was the poetry of the troubadours and the epic romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that promulgated the doctrine of love and in so doing brought about changing attitudes toward woman and her position in society. It is the purpose of this thesis to examine various aspects of medieval life and attempt to determine what influence, if any, societal attitudes had on the stylistic interpretations in the visual arts, and, more specifically, in ivory carving. By examining several examples of ivory mirror cases, we will determine whether these works reflected or distorted the contemporary attitudes of medieval society.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vii, 115 pages




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