The torn page : fashioning identity through Venetian incunabular ornament
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This thesis focuses on a trompe l'oeil motif that mimics torn, tattered and pierced parchment known as pagina strappata ("torn page"). This phrase can refer to both a sheet that is torn out of something and a sheet that has tears in it, and both meanings will be applied to this study, as the motif is found in two compositionally different designs. The first form, pagina strappata all' esterno ("external torn page"), presents a completely separate torn page of text that is held within the space created by the illumination, These frontispieces all feature a sheet of parchment, seemingly torn from its own bound context, and placed within the illumination, itself bound in a book. The second, pagina strappata all' interno ("internal torn page"), illusionistically presents a tear in the actual page. By tearing the actual sheet of parchment, the painting forces the viewer to question where the surface of the page is as the edges lift and curl away from the presented surface. This proposed typology, based on spatial relationships both within and beyond the page, divides and analyses these two pagina strappata motifs, while recognizing that each form shares a torn and thus aged identity. The pagina strappata motifs are trompe l'oeil designs, which means they deceive the viewer into believing the created object is in fact real, or at the very least an imitation of a real object. Each design constantly references the idea of layers, both within the painting and beyond, creating strong relationships that can confuse what is created and what is real.
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