Ochočená emoce : Smrt, zármutek a útěcha v obrazové a písemné kultuře 16. a 17. století

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Title in English Tame Emotions : death, grief and consolation in the visual and written culture of the 16th and 17th centuries


Year of publication 2023
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The study deals with reflection of grief and empathic manifestations related to death in the context of early modern visuality, specifically in the language-image discourse of sepulchral culture. In the humanistic and Christian interpretation of the early modern period, grief over the deceased ones had its place, but it was not accepted for its own sake and certainly not to an exaggerated degree. It has always been related to the complementary emotion of joy, which in the Christian concept pointed to eschatological optimism and the promise of salvation. The pre-modern culture oscillated between accepting the emotions of grief and at the same time suppressing and rationalizing it with regard to the inevitability of death and especially the joyful idea of posthumous salvation. At the same time, monuments of sepulchral culture, in agreement with humanistic and religious literature, pursued the same goals as particular forms of conventionally normative coping with death. The sepulchral monuments, esp. epitaphs, clearly express the emotional detachment of their protagonists, or even seemingly paradoxical and unexpected emotions of joy, expressing that eschatological optimism that resonates with the main Christian arguments of consolation. Despite this visually emotional restraint of sepulchral monuments, the element of pathos in the sense of an emotional effect on the viewer is not absent in them. Sepulchral monuments of the pre-modern era function as specific carriers of affective energy, accompanied by the principle of so-called affective affordance, i.e. the interaction between the elements of the image and the abilities of the perceiver, which are, however, fundamentally shaped by experience and contemporary conventions of thought and action. The visual objects of the sepulchral culture of the early modern period thus allow us to observe the historical reflection of emotions and the affective field that arises in the interaction of human experience, images and texts. The observed emotional narrative, anchored in religious and commemorative practices, accompanied not only personal coping with death, but also served as a general model of religious-educational or psychological-mentoring instruction, shaping conventional ideas about grief and emotionality.
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