Medieval Scenography

Places, scaffolds, and iconography

Authored by: Gordon Kipling

The Routledge Companion to Scenography

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138917804
eBook ISBN: 9781315688817
Adobe ISBN:


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What we know – or think we know – of theatrical scenography in the Middle Ages has been largely shaped by two fifteenth-century images: a scene plan (c. 1425) for an English morality play, The Castle of Perseverance (Figure 19.1) and Jean Fouquet’s miniature, The Martyrdom of St Apollonia (c. 1452–60), depicted as a scene being performed in a French mystère (Figure 19.2). Since the turn of the twentieth century, several generations of historians have studied these images primarily for what they might tell us about medieval theatre architecture. 1 Plays, we are told, were predominantly performed in circular theatres; actors and audience members shared the available performance space; and theatrical spaces were defined by multiple, fixed locations. Only the last is true, but the first two propositions have badly skewed our ideas about medieval scenography.

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