Text, Image, Message: Saints in Medieval Manuscript Illustrations

Text, Image, Message: Saints in Medieval Manuscript Illustrations

Text, Image, Message: Saints in Medieval Manuscript Illustrations

Text, Image, Message: Saints in Medieval Manuscript Illustrations

Synopsis

Ross provides a broad survey of pictures and texts concerning saints, from the Early Christian through the late Gothic period. Both Western and Byzantine material is included. Beginning with the earliest pictures of and stories about saints, the book traces the evolution of hagiographic imagery primarily in manuscript contexts. Because of its cross-disciplinary nature, it will be of interest to audiences interested in Early Christian, Byzantine, and Western medieval culture: religion, society, politics, and art. No other book to date is organized similarly in providing detailed descriptions for the identification of medieval manuscripts with hagiographic texts and illustrations.

Excerpt

This study has two major aims: to provide a general survey of the medieval manuscript contexts where illustrations of saints are found and, in surveying and describing this material, to point out some essential, general characteristics of hagiography as manifested in the visual arts. Although illustrated manuscripts provide the primary focus for this study, the numerous other early Christian and medieval pictorial contexts for hagiographic depiction are also considered.

Throughout this text, the terms "hagiography" and "hagiographic" have been maintained, despite the recognized pejorative associations of these terms with pious fiction making. In this study, hagiography is to be understood simply as the creation and composition of stories and pictures about saints, although issues of sources and working methods will certainly be found discussed here as well.

Chapter 1, "Origins," discusses the growth and development of hagiographic imagery in art and literature concentrating, initially, on the early Christian period when the first pictures and stories about saints were created. Some of the earliest written texts are briefly surveyed, and different . . .

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