How did monsters use their average propaganda?
It turns out that art has always supplied visual material for propaganda of the ideology prevailing in their time, do you know that? And this trend did not originate yesterday. Artists for ever and ever create powerful images that wonderfully illustrate the ideas of politicians, well ..., or churchmen. So it was in antiquity. Medieval monsters are not just strange bestsellers, not only fantastic unicorns (although there are many of them); or a tapestry of 1440 with hairy “wild people” fighting the Moors - these are also the most sought-after images of ideology.
When someone lacks humanity, we say that he is a monster, and everyone understands that a person has lost the right to be called a man.
The exhibition at the Morgan Museum in New York perfectly demonstrates this.
Here is what they write in the catalog:
Monstrous images were often associated with members of socially disadvantaged groups; such a strategy rationalized repression and could even be used to incite violence ”,- write curators Asa Simon Mitman and Sherry Lindquist.
“Besides the mythical figures in European Christian culture, entire nations were also demonized.
Jews and Muslims, whom Christians considered sinful because they denied Christ, were depicted as monsters with exaggerated or animalistic features and barren bodies. ”
Monsters have fascinated the imagination of medieval men and women just as they continue to fascinate us today. There are even invisible monsters inside the body, they were accused of mental illness; Australian manuscript 1476-99 shows a black demon coming out of a possessed person in the process of exorcism, and in the background a monk put his hand into the fire to resist the lust caused by the demon.
And yes, monsters reinforce the aura of those in power, whether they are rulers, knights or saints.
And all sorts of "Wonders" - a group of strange beauties and terrible anomalies that inhabited the medieval world. Fantastic creatures were supposed to inspire expectations of a miracle and cause a feeling of fear.
One of the most striking illustrations is the winged siren, illustration from 1510.
She triumphantly walks with bird legs, trampling a mass of drowning people, and plays her fateful song on the harp. The poem warns men not to believe in the beauty of women who lure the stronger sex with their appearance, hiding scary claws.
Mandrake Root - screams in a human voice when pulled out of the ground.
The word "monster" was associated by medieval scholars with the Latin monster - "show" - and monere - "warn".