The Milan Diptych: a sixth-century gospel book cover in the political landscape of Ravenna Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Miller, Sarah A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History
  • The Milan Diptych, an ivory and jewel-studded gospel book cover carved with scenes from the Life of Christ, is an outstanding exemplar of late antique ivory carving on the Italian peninsula. In previous scholarship, the diptych has been assigned to the fifth century and discussed as a work with self-contained theological meaning. In this thesis, I assign the Milan Diptych to Ravenna in the late sixth century due to a vocabulary of symbolism shared with Ravennate sarcophagi, as well as iconographic parallels with the imperial churches and baptisteries at Ravenna. I demonstrate that political meaning embedded in the iconographic program of the Milan Diptych is predicated on Ravenna's architectural mosaic programs of the sixth century, and I also give evidence for imperial patronage, based on political imagery occurring in both the diptych and the mosaics that addresses the relationship between earthly and heavenly power.
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  • Verkerk, Dorothy
  • Open access

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