Fascinating post about the ways of visual communication in medieval times. In our times, many feel as if we have invented the wheel…but we haven’t. Our ancestors were there before us. In many ways, human beings have not changed at all in our history. Our techonology has changed, but not us 🙂
In our modern society there are words everywhere around us, all the time. They are not only written in books – that fair and most devoted carrier of text – but also on walls, where they appear in all shapes and sizes. Judging from surviving paintings, it appears that in medieval times it was less common to have words – text – displayed on walls. Looking at Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous fresco Effects of Good Government in the City (1338-1340) one would assume medieval walls to be spotless, both indoors and outdoors (Fig. 1) – here is another example.
Fig. 1 – Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effects of Good Government in the City (Fresco, 1338-1340) – Source
Surviving artefacts suggest, however, that this medieval imagery is deceptive, that the streets we are shown in paintings were probably virtually cleaned by the painter. While rare, different types of posters survive that were once stuck to medieval walls. Curiously, they are often quite…
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