Memling's Portraits of Christ. A Cognitive Approach.


  • Lasse Hodne Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim



Hans Memling, portraits, man of sorrows, holy face.


Previous research conducted by the author revealed a clear preference for profile and half profile view in paintings of secular persons. Frontal view (full-face or en face) was usually restricted to representations of Christ. In this paper, the results will be applied to the study of the paintings of one particular artist: the German-born fifteenth-century painter Hans Memling. Adopting methods from traditional art history as well as cognitive psychology, the aim is to show how Memeling's systematic distinction between sacred and profane, using the frontal view only for representations of Christ, can be explained by reference to psychological studies on the effects and values usually associated with the frontal view of a face.

On cover:
Monks singing the Office and decorated initial A[sperges me.]. Gradual Olivetan Master (Use of the Olivetan Benedictines), illuminated manuscript on parchment ca. 1430-1439. Italy, Monastero di Santa Maria di Baggio near Milan, Ca 1400-1775.
Beinecke Ms1184: The olivetan Gradual. Gradual. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.




How to Cite

Hodne, L. (2019) “ A Cognitive Approach”., Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia, 31(n.s.17), pp. 245–258. doi: 10.5617/acta.7810.