In the last few decades, medieval images of music and music in medieval images have become extremely popular topics on which many scholars have published, focusing in particular on France and England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, as in this volume. Clouzot cites most of them and her references are immensely valuable pointers to the major discussions in the field. Her book offers a solid grounding in the theoretical concepts of music from Plato and Aristotle to Cicero, Quintilian, Martianus Capella, the Thomists of the late thirteenth century and beyond.

Part 1 focuses on devotional books and on the shifting dynamics between clergy and the noble laity – in which I suggest that more creative credit might well be given to lay patrons in determining the illustrative content of their books. This part includes the Liberal Arts, King David as musician and hybrids; the role of rhetoric and rhetorical figures as memory aids. Part 2 returns to David and his instruments; David as performative model, gestures of performers, animals and hybrids; hearing marginal sounds and silences; seeing and hearing elements of the topsy-turvy world; acoustics, musical hybrids and their body parts. Part 3 addresses preaching, social and intellectual hierarchies, the role of the Mendicants and their subversion in the person of Renart; chanting, speaking, voices, both human and animal; depictions of chanters, singers and birdsong; perversions and obscenities in performance; finally a return to David, this time with the Fool and the Devil; ending with music pictured as an allegory of time.

The book is sparsely illustrated, mostly with details from marginal scenes, many of which reappear several times, sometimes (not often enough) with a whole page instead of a detail for a fuller appreciation of the manuscript context. Sometimes the images engage with the text, at other times not. The text is also quite repetitive and considerably overwritten. The bibliography is very useful, but could be supplemented with some important references, such as:

Speculum quadruplex sive Speculum maius, Vincentius Bellovacensis, Fac-sim. of the ed. of Douai, 1624, Graz 1964–1965.

Gerhard Schmidt, »Belehrender« und »befreiender« Humor: Ein Versuch über die Funktion des Komischen in der bildenden Kunst des Mittelalters, in: Margret Dietrich (ed.), Worüber lacht das Publikum im Theater? Spaß und Betroffenheit einst und heute: Festschrift zum 90. Geburtstag von Heinz Kindermann, Wien 1984, p. 9–39.

Betty J. Bäuml, Franz Bäuml, Dictionary of Worldwide Gestures, 2nd ed., Lanham, Maryland 1997.

Christian Heck (ed.), Le Ci nous dit: L’image médiévale et la culture des laïcs au XIVe siècle: les enluminures du manuscrit de Chantilly, Turnhout 2011.

Laurence Harf-Lancner, Sur deux vers du Lai du Chaitivel de Marie de France. Le fou et son pain: l’mage au secours du texte, in: Ead. Dire et peindre le Moyen Âge, Paris 2017, p. 465–476.

Joseph Dyer (ed.), The Scientia artis muusice of Hélie Salomon: teaching music in the late thirteenth century: Latin text with English translation and commentary, Abingdon, New York 2018.

More vigilant proofreading could have corrected errors such as »Hearing the Motet« (p. 336); »Bovey« (p. 411), »Manuscripts and Medieval Song«(p. 416).

Zitationsempfehlung/Pour citer cet article:

Alison Stones, Rezension von/compte rendu de: Martine Clouzot, La musicalité des images au Moyen Âge. Instruments, voix et corps sonores dans les manuscrits enluminés (XIIIe–XIVe siècles), Turnhout (Brepols) 2021, 433 p., 142 col. ill. (Épitome musical), ISBN 978-2-503-58855-1, EUR 75,00., in: Francia-Recensio 2022/1, Mittelalter – Moyen Âge (500–1500), DOI: