Imago Contrefacta

 Mother and Child

“The Angel Gabriel from heaven came

His wings of drifted snow his eyes aflame”

” Instructive in this regard are the words ‘imago contrefacta‘, used to characterize this image thrice removed from its prototype an image made after another image thought to have been made after a vision of Christ. Presumably the author of the inscription understood imago contrafacta in an unprejudiced sense to mean a suitable copy or reproduction of the model. This is evident from the context provided by the inscription itself and its referent. In other Latin contrafactum could characterize a portrait or an effigy, and sometimes more generally a resemblance, or it could in certain cases mean imitation either in the sense of a true likeness or, less often a forgery. The words contrafactio, contrafactura and the verb form contrafacrere are known in Latin only from the early medieval period onward. Interestingly enough, there appears to be no trace of a classical counterpart”

P. Parshall, Imago Contrafacta: Images and Facts in the Northern Renaissance


I stand at a distance in time from these thoughts and would not describe the processes in terms of a faith I do not have. But it looks little different. I am familiar with this form of visual processes. I am familiar with this vision of things in a religious context.




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