Meditative qualities of the pictorial narratives in the mural paintings of Albertus Pictor : a study of the Jonah and the whale prefiguration and Christ's crucifixion
Livers, Meghan Lee Baker
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Albertus Pictor rose in popularity among the parishes' clergy and the Swedish diocese surrounding Lake Malaren. Albertus's paintings remain of interest in current society for the vibrantly colored depictions and the insight the murals provide into the medieval devout society. In addition to the didactic utility of the murals, which previous scholarship has examined, I investigated the meditative qualities of Albertus's church paintings. The evident compositional influence Albertus draws from manuscript tradition further emphasizes the meditative impact of the murals on the medieval congregation. The supplemental analysis of meditation in the church paintings advances the scholarship of Albertus Pictor to develop a more comprehensive art historical evaluation. The utilization of a case study, painted during the 15th century, of two examples of the prefiguration of Jonah and the Whale in Harkeberga and Taby churches and two depictions of Christ's Crucifixion in Taby and Harnevi churches, demonstrates the connection of the meditative properties of the Passion of Christ to the Old Testament depictions as illustrative inspiration to reflect Christ's life. Christ's Crucifixion, as the quintessential representation of the Christian faith, provides the most direct link from the meditant to the divine. Jonah and the Whale, one of the oldest prefiguration narratives in the Christian tradition, contributes a long art historical record to extract symbolism and apply to Albertus's usage. As a practice to reflect on Christ's sacrifice, meditation was firmly planted in medievalism by the time of Albertus's work. The didacticism and religious meditation existed harmoniously within his murals.