Seeing and Not Seeing the Reliquary Bust of Saint Yrieix Open Access

Sears, Andrew Russell (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kd17ct57g?locale=en
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Abstract

In this thesis, I construct a devotional framework within which the early thirteenth-century
Limousin reliquary bust of Saint Yrieix operated. Using museological literature as a lead-in, I
consider the primacy modern-day scholars give to object experience over object beholding, and
how we should consider medieval reliquaries not only as objects to be looked at, but as objects to
be experienced. With that in mind, I articulate the medieval lay mode of experiencing the
reliquary of Yrieix and how it was rooted in a system of unseen devotion, far different from the
museum experience of taking on an appraising gaze. Yrieix's relics operated in the realm of the
unseen, and despite the splendor of the reliquary image that housed them, the reliquary did, as
well. The object was shrouded from public view and only seen for short periods of time and for
distinct purposes, either for feast days or communal processions. The reliquary was experienced
through an orchestrated system of punctuated non-sight, suggesting that experiencing was not
about seeing, but believing.

Table of Contents

Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Chapter 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

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