Thus far, our class conversation surrounding illuminated manuscripts has made it apparent that the primary creators of these works were male. Recently, in my Sexuality & Gender of Ancient Greece and Rome classics course, we’ve discussed the problem of male-centered primary resources. I think this dialogue could be extended to works such as Très Riches Heures or the Book of Kells.
The question becomes, are we making assumptions and associations of a time period based on a male-dominated perspective? Are we truly understanding stories of the time if we are only receiving half the story? These illuminators have the ability to portray whatever it is they would like, as we discussed with their ability to incorporate their patrons into works with either kind or snarky effects. This makes me wonder if their representation of culture are swayed or inaccurate. I’m curious to hear other people’s thoughts on the matter.