The question of how to represent a person was of great importance to artists and patrons in the later Middle Ages. While much attention has focussed on the development of facial likeness in portraiture, the concurrent fashion for expressing identity through symbolic codes has been comparatively ignored. Heraldic badges – a form of symbolic representation whereby individuals are represented through objects, plants, animals, letters or mythological beings – were extremely popular in the royal and aristocratic courts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, proliferating across a wide range of artistic media and contexts.
This one-day conference brings together experts from across Europe, and aims to stimulate cross-cultural conversations on the display, function and circulation of heraldic badges in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The theme ‘Miniature to Monumental’ focuses on the size and context of badges, interrogating why these devices were represented in radically different scales, and the shifts in meaning incurred in these transformations.