Despite the wealth of material and textual evidence attesting to the practice of Christian pilgrimage throughout history, comprehending an individual’s understanding of pilgrimage in relation to his or her own identity has always proved challenging. Pilgrimage studies scholars have tended to look to travel accounts, chronicles, and collected pilgrim souvenirs to discern how pilgrims were affected by and responded to their experiences. One form of source material that has gone largely underexamined in this regard is the genre of portraiture. This article explores how and why the concept of pilgrimage could be incorporated into the self-fashioned images of patrons in medieval and early modern Europe. Building on foundational but geographically and temporally specific studies of Jerusalem confraternity portraits, it aims to consider both overt and subtle iconographic references to pilgrimage to broaden our understanding of what constitutes a pilgrim portrait. By engaging with the flexibility of pilgrimage iconography and the multifaceted motivations behind invoking it in a permanent likeness, this paper argues for the dual faculties of memory and imagination present in portraits that manifest allusions to an individual’s pilgrim identity. Furthermore, it paves the way for future studies of pilgrimage iconography generally, and specifically of pilgrim portraits in a more abstract, allegorical sense.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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