Please join us for the next Renaissance and Early Modern Art Seminar, 12:30-2pm, Thursday 11th May in Trinity Hall’s Graham Storey Room.

Dr Julia Saviello (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main)

The Shield as Prop and ‘Stage’ in Renaissance Art

The shield was increasingly used in tournaments from the fourteenth century on. Accordingly, it was adapted to meet the demands of the knights’ games – for example, being furnished with a cutout (bouche) to support the lance – and, in the fifteenth century, novel visual features were introduced. The shield now functioned either as a target with special effects or as an image carrier, taking up the narrative or theme of the tournament or pageant. In my paper, I will trace this rededication of the weapon and its use as a prop and ‘stage’ through three case studies from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, highlighting the textual and pictorial sources for the shields and considering how the objects may have interacted with their bearers.