Prince and Pretender: Marian Iconography and Devotion as Political Rhetoric in the Magnificat Window in Great Malvern Priory Church
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionKonsthistorisk tidskrift, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/00233609.2021.1987318
This article argues that Tudor politics influenced the devotional iconography on display in the Magnificat window in Great Malvern Priory church in Worcestershire, England from 1501. The window proclaims Henry VII’s final victory over Yorkist pretenders to the throne in the years after Bosworth and communicates its position through images of the Virgin Mary. The article discusses how collective memory and visual migration function to bridge the rhetorical and devotional visual language which associated Marian devotion with Tudor politics in the Magnificat window. The rise of Lady Chapels and Marian images in England during the late Middle Ages was accompanied by new additions of Marian devotion and ritual interaction. The combination of Marian iconography and Prince Arthur’s popularity made it possible to present political rhetoric in the visual language of devotion. Persuasive rhetoric and visual devotion function together to incorporate the social role of visual language, late medieval prayer, and public liturgy. The didactic and devotional function of stained-glass windows allows them to become interactive devotional art in sacred spaces, they change with time and sentiment of the people who use the space. In the rhetoric of faith and truth, suggestions, or persuasion via visual rhetoric in the context of churches, emphasise the idea of a force of truth created by their divine context.