The organizing principle of this gathering of articles is the inquiry into the agentic potential of later medieval devotional objects. In my introduction, I provide exploratory remarks on the ontology of living images, and broadly outline their histories as well as the theoretical and disciplinary concerns that they raise. I then consider the ways that the essays presented here target and engage with these concerns. As a group, the articles interrogate animate and animated objects whose enlivening stands at the intersection of visual, literary, and performative cultures. Although interdisciplinary in nature, all articles retain a focus on viewing practices, on the interaction between the object and the beholder: as such, they stand at the crux of current scholarly interest in materiality and agency inherent in, and attributed to, medieval images. The material presented here focuses on the later Middle Ages but spans a wide range of geographical locations, from Spain to Poland.

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