Embedded Old Testament Iconography. Its functions and meaning in Netherlandish and German paintings of the ‘Annunciation’ (c. 1400-1550)
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This thesis discusses the functions and meaning of Old Testament figures and scenes embedded as lifeless objects and decorative elements in Netherlandish and German New Testament scenes on panel and canvas (c. 1400-1550), with the 'Annunciation' as case study. In the first chapter, a discussion is provided on embedded Old Testament iconography in general: the histogiographical problem concerning embedded iconography, its art historical origins (from early Trecento art on), the possible roles of the artist, patron and hypothetical theological advisor, the possible meaning of the depicted media, and its possible functions and meaning alternative to typology. The second chapter considers these research problems in the case of Netherlandish and German paintings of the 'Annunciation' (painted c. 1400-1550), including a discussion on depictions of the 'Annunciation' set in an explicitly Hebrew context. The third and longest chapter consists of a catalogue of c. 50 Netherlandish and German paintings of the 'Annunciation' (c. 1400-1550), including discussions on the historiography of their respective embedded Old Testament iconography, and new analyses of these paintings. The main conclusion of this thesis is that, besides typology, a major function of embedded Old Testament images is the indication of the archaic, biblical and/or Jewish context of the New Testament scenes, and/or the indication of the function of the setting the New Testament scene is depicted in.