Religious Relief Ivory Carving During The Regency And Reign Of Charles V Of France (1356-1380)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Art and Music Histories


Meredith Lillich


Fine Arts

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


This dissertation examines in detail the development of religious relief ivory carving during the latter half of the fourteenth century--specifically, during the regency and reign of Charles V of France (1356-80). It appears that although ivory had provided an ongoing medium to craftsmen for sculptural expression since prehistoric times, it was not a widely practiced art form during the Early and High Gothic periods (c.1140-1230). At the middle of the thirteenth century, however, small-scale diptychs for private devotion once again became popular; this popularity was sustained for over a century until c.1380.

The introductory portion of the dissertation includes an examination of the religious reliefs carved in ivory c.1260-1350 in order to provide a baseline for understanding the pieces created in the second half of the fourteenth century. More precisely, figure style, iconography, architectural decoration and relationships to possible sources in other media are studied from these earlier decades of Gothic ivory production so that the pieces carved during Charles V's tenure can be understood in their proper context. I have proposed specifically that the first examples of Gothic ivory sculpture may have derived from their contemporary manuscript illuminations in the popular, newly-developed Books of Hours. The latter chapters of my work then review the ivories carved during Charles V's regency and reign. Once again, the focus of study is style and iconography as well as formal observations concerning (1) combinations of subject matter which emerged repeatedly, (2) evolutions of various postures and (3) relationships to works in other media, most often miniature paintings. Indeed, my major theory in these chapters is that there were two main trends in later fourteenth-century ivory carving, each of which was based on a major contemporary manuscript style. I have tried to show that one grouping of ivories from this period closely reflects the manuscript style of Jean Le Noir while another definitely resembles the miniatures of Jean Bondol.


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