Laura Weigert

title.none: Emmerson and Sheingorn, eds., Studies in Iconography (Weigert)

identifier.other: baj9928.0008.010 00.08.10

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Laura Weigert, Universite' de Nantes,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2000

identifier.citation: Emmerson, Richard and Pamela Sheingorn, eds.. Studies in Iconography. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999. Pp. 1, 244. $20.00. ISBN: 1-580-44019-3.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 00.08.10

Emmerson, Richard and Pamela Sheingorn, eds.. Studies in Iconography. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999. Pp. 1, 244. $20.00. ISBN: 1-580-44019-3.

Reviewed by:

Laura Weigert
Universite' de Nantes

Published annually since 1975, Studies in Iconography is devoted to articles presenting new interpretations of pre- modern visual imagery. The journal responds to recent critiques of "iconography" by integrating a variety of methodological and inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of visual culture. In the process, it counters a reductive theory of this method of art historical investigation as merely the identification of the content or subject-matter of pictorial images. Studies geared toward attribution and which rely on stylistic analysis as a primary mode of interpretation are absent from the journal. However, its collected articles rarely focus directly on art historical methodology: the individual authors do not position their work in relationship to a particular theory of iconography nor do they emphasize their interpretive methods. The current issue contains six articles which address diverse examples of visual imagery produced before 1600.

Paul Binski, "The English Parish Church and its Art in the Later Middle Ages: A Review of the Problem."

Despite the wealth of documentation they offer for the study of medieval religious practice, English parish churches and their furnishings have not been given significant attention. To remedy this situation, Paul Binski sketches a number of issues that relate the parish church to current work in the study of medieval visual culture, namely the role of art in the making of religion. He argues that parish churches and their installations offer new evidence for the prescriptive rules and traditions governing the display of art, such as in the case of imagery surrounding the altar; the role of art in unifying or dividing a community, such as the construction and ornamentation of rood screens; and the placement of imagery within ceremonial ritual and within the spatial organization of the church. Binski's inclusion of a variety of church furnishings underscores his point that the decoration and design of late medieval churches functioned as an ontological whole. The article provides a model for such an integrative approach to medieval images and architecture.

Nina Chichinadze, "The True Cross Reliquaries of Medieval Georgia."

Visions of the True Cross played legendary roles in the fourth- century conversions of the Georgian King, Mirian, and of Kartli, a city in eastern Georgia. Devotion to the True Cross was particularly strong in Georgia throughout the Middle Ages and numerous examples of pectoral crosses and icon reliquaries (staurothekai) made to hold relics of the Cross survive. Nina Chichinadze dates and describes the examples of these two types of reliquaries preserved in Georgia. She also includes several written references to True Cross reliquaries. This group of reliquaries points to the close cultural and political contacts between Georgia and the city of Jerusalem.

Pamela A. Patton, "The Capitals of San Juan de la Pena: Narrative Sequence and Monastic Spirituality in the Romanesque Cloister."

Pamela Patton reconstructs the Genesis and Gospel cycles of the Spanish cloister of San Juan de la Pena, which dates to the last two decades of the twelfth century. In addition to a study of the themes depicted in the cloister, the contemporary cloister of San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca and the north portal of San Salvador in Ejea de los Caballeros provide evidence for the missing capitals and for those scenes which have not been identified conclusively. The author argues that the historiated capitals formed a linear sequence of chronologically ordered events. This organizational program, unusual in Romanesque cloister sculpture, was designed to facilitate the contemplation of biblical events and reflects the concerns of the eleventh and twelfth-century monastic reformers. These were ideals adopted by the monks of San Jean de la Pena in the last decades of the twelfth century.

Catherine Brown Tkacz, "Susanna as a Type of Christ."

In addition to the other numerous roles accorded Susanna, she was also depicted and described as a prefiguration of Christ. Catherine Brown Tkacz identifies texts and pictorial images from the fourth through the seventeenth centuries which establish a parallel between Daniel 13 and the Gospel account of the Passion, and explores the transformation of this typology. The identification of this theme enables her to understand the significance of images of Susanna, which previously have been misinterpreted. She presents, for instance, a new reading of the fourth-century Brescia Casket. Two appendices list works of art and written texts containing references to Susanna as a type of Christ.

Ronald B. Herzman, "'Visibile Parlare': Dante's Purgatorio 10 and Luca Signorelli's San Brizio Frescoes."

Signorelli's frescoes in the Capella di San Brizio of Orvieto Cathedral (1499- 1504) depict themes from Dante's Commedia. Ronald Herzman argues that the depiction of Purgatorio 10 situated on the lower wall of the chapel provides a perspective within which to view the entire cycle. This chapter of the Commedia contains Dante's lengthiest discussion of the relationship between verbal and visual representation. As does Dante's text, Signorelli's painting of Purgatorio 10 describes the transformation from one artistic medium to another. Signorelli thereby participates in the same representational enterprise as Dante, and the fresco cycle functions in turn as a visual commentary on Dante's poem.

Yona Pinson, "Folly and Vanity in Bruegel's Dulle Griet: Proverbial Metaphors and their Relationship to Bosch's Imagery."

Yona Pinson's discussion of Dulle Griet (1562) focuses on the emblematic figure of Folly, particularly popular in Netherlandish popular imagery and elite cultural manifestations of Bruegel's time. She argues that the figure of Folly constitutes the central metaphor of the painting and encapsulates its didactic and moral message. The author relies on comparisons with Bruegel's other paintings, Bosch's visual vocabulary, and the contemporary context of proverbs to elucidate the allegory of Folly and other visual metaphors in Dulle Griet. Pinson also makes a claim that, although Bruegel did rely on ancient sources, his work is more appropriately seen as a translation of those sources into a "local language" which drew on the cultural heritage of Late Medieval thought.

Volume 20 of Studies in Iconography also contains review articles by Vicki L. Hamblin (Anne Derbes, Picturing the Passion in Late Medieval Italy: Narrative Painting, Franciscan Ideologies, and the Levant, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1996); Joanna E. Ziegler (Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London : University of California Press, 1997); William J. Diebold (Henry Maguire, The Icons of their Bodies: Saints and their Images in Byzantium Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); William McClellan (Jill M. Ricketts, Visualizing Boccacio: Studies on Illustrations of The Decameron, from Giotto to Pasolini, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Kathryn Kerby- Fulton (Lucy Freeman Sandler, Omne Bonum : A Fourteenth- Century Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge: British Library MSS Royal 6 E VI-6 VII, London: Harvey Miller, 1996); Christelle L. Baskins (James M. Saslow, The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as Theatrum Mundi, New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 1996); and Jonathan B. Riess (Evelyn S. Welch, Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995).