Typology Of Gestures In Medieval Art
The human body and gestures have a historic relationship. The Medieval era is frequently referred to as the Culture of Gestures. This term has been affirmed for two basic reasons. Firstly, in those times, body movements played a very significant role in social relationships. Secondly, the people of this era gave a comprehensive deliberation to gestures, thereby devising an entire hypothesis on gestures.
Research reveals that probably gestures gained eminence in society due to illiteracy. Due to this very reason, until the 13th century gestures occupied a crucial role in society. It was the rise in education that marked the fall in the importance of gestures.
History projects that the human body itself was of great distinction in the medieval times. The human being was regarded as a binary form comprising of soul and body. The two facets that characterized human form were the visible outside and the invisible inside. Therefore, gestures in essence personified the dialectic between the intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of an individual’s personality.
Along with unconstructive thoughts comes in the domain of negative gestures. The term ‘gesticulations’ was coined for bad gestures. Actually there lay a dichotomy in the analysis of the responsibility of the body. Although the body was considered to be a cage for the soul and a hindrance in the attainment of salvation; it was the noble gestures performed by the body in the form of charity and penance that eventually assisted in accomplishing salvation.
All gestures were of equal consequence in a specific way. Gestures were normally utilized as a form of communication with someone else. However, it was believed that no person was unaided while displaying gestures, even if one was alone in a desert. The omnipresence of the Almighty was valued and trusted. It is the study of such gestures that gives an insight to the thoughts that prevailed during the Middle Ages. By viewing the shape of a letter, paleographers are able to restructure the motion of the hand that drew it years back. Historians have evolved the typology of gestures in co-ordination with the part of body involved such the head, arm or hands; or in accordance to the connotation of the gesture such as sorrow, respect, homage etcetera.
The philosophy of gestures in the medieval era can be slotted into three categories. The first represents that gestures were linked with better expression. The second holds it as a form of non verbal communication and finally, the third is linked with efficacy.
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