Exhibition text for Mattea Perrotta’s solo show L’Utima Cena Part ii

Haverkampf Leistenschneider Gallery, Berlin, 31 Mar – 23 Apr 2022

Images of the works // Text

Multivalent Objects: The Function and Reception of Paxes in the Late Medieval Period

MA Dissertation // Courtauld Institute of Art


This paper attempts to bridge a lack of documentary evidence regarding the function of paxes. It does so by exploring what the forms of a pax reveal about how it functioned and how it was viewed by its contemporary audience. Through a close-looking, object-based analysis it focuses on the forms of three specific case studies: the Boucicaut Pax, the Visconti Pax, and the Buondelmonte Paxes. The two main formal features taken into consideration for each object are their frames and their material meanings. The interaction between the frame of a pax and the material enclosed within it communicates specific meanings and functions. This formal analysis is possible to achieve because the three objects have previously been researched on, although not extensively, with a focus on their patron and the historical contexts surrounding their production. Each case study focuses on two aspects of the pax’s function and contemporary reception. Firstly, each chapter explores a broader societal function of the pax analysed. The second focus, instead, is on the intimate relationship between the object and its kisser.

Dialogues Between Medieval and Modern Art: an Investigation into the Aesthetic Experience of The Holy Thorn Reliquary and the Rothschild Canticles Through Conversations with Yves Klein’s Ex-Voto Tablet to Saint Rita of Cascia, Robert Rauschenberg’s Dirt Painting (for John Cage), Lucio Fontana’s Spatial Concept: The End of God and Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room: Aftermath of the Obliteration of Eternity.

BA Dissertation // University of East Anglia


This dissertation aims to provide an alternative methodology for the recollection of aesthetic rhetoric and aesthetic experience of works of art from the Middle Ages. This is achieved through the use of a conversational approach in which artefacts from the medieval and postmodern eras discuss themes of materiality and abstraction. This dissertation is methodologically formulated in contrast to the more traditional archival type of scholarly research which favours a textual analysis of contextual sources, but tends to lose focus on the artwork’s aesthetic rhetoric and its intrinsic ability to visually communicate historical information. The conversational approach allows this dissertation to provide an analysis of aesthetic experience of medieval objects’s formal properties that would otherwise remain unexamined beyond their historical contexts. Although this study’s predominant focus is on the medieval object, medieval and postmodern artworks will communicate on equal terms; no artwork discussed will be considered as a conceptual tool for the explanation of another. This exercise demonstrates the fertile possibilities of a transhistorical aesthetic analysis, and, hence, the need to reconsider and broaden the remit of the art historian.