The Artist's Signature in Romanesque France
Problems, Forms, Functions
This paper aims to discuss some issues related to artists’ signatures during the XIth and XIIth centuries, focusing on a corpus of French inscriptions, broadly neglected in previous works. After a short introduction of the corpus, the second part of the article undertakes to evaluate the writing skills of those who executed these inscriptions. The last part deals with the value of theses signatures, traditionally considered as the artist’s claim of authorship of a work, in order to obtain recognition of his talent and status. However, since the analysis of their exhibition contexts shows that they were often invisible to a large public, and that they were concentrated in symbolic spaces of the church, this study suggests their interpretation from a devotional and eschatological perspective.
Keywords: Signature • Medieval Artist • Romanesque (France) • Literacy • Medieval Epigraphy