Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art and Design

First Advisor

John R. Decker

Second Advisor

Susan Richmond

Third Advisor

Kathryn McClymond

Abstract

Jörg Ratgeb’s Herrenberg Altarpiece (1518-1519) depicts well-established examples of Christian iconography, but appears to reconfigure and intensify traditional subjects and subject matter through the inclusion of overt anti-Judaic references. In this paper, my focus is the strong anti-Judaic subject matter of the Herrenberg Altarpiece and the local context in which, and for which, it was created. The anti-Jewish representations are investigated by exploring Christian perceptions of biblical and contemporary Jews, identifying social tensions in Swabia that may have influenced how Jews were depicted, and recognizing the ways in which the trope of Jewish wantonness may have served a politico-religious agenda in the region. Given the Eucharistic overtones of the altarpiece, I also argue that anxieties in Christian practice concerning the presence of Christ’s true body and blood in the consecrated Eucharist could be, and often were, exacerbated by Christian perceptions of Jews and “judaizing.”

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