Defining the Boundaries of Self and Other in the Girona Beatus of 975 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Sponsler, Jessica
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History
  • The history of early medieval Spain can be nearly impenetrable to modern scholars. Relatively little textual evidence dated before 1000 C.E. exists and those sources are rarely contemporary to the events they describe. Luckily early medieval Christian Iberia left behind artistic monuments, primarily illustrated manuscripts such as the Commentary on the Book of Revelation, for study. This text, written in the latter half of the eighth century by a monk named Beatus of Liébana, was reproduced in illustrated versions from the ninth to thirteenth centuries in northern Iberia and southern France. This project will focus on a single manuscript from this group, the so-called Girona Beatus [Girona, Museu de la Catedral de Girona, Num. Inv. 7(11)] dated to 975 and probably produced at the monastery of San Salvador de Tábara in León. I will ask what the images of the Girona Beatus, specifically those images not directly illustrating the Commentary text itself, reveal about the Christians of the northern Iberian Peninsula. The previous scholars have focused primarily on finding a Late Antique model from which the Girona Beatus and others were merely copies. As a result, the historical context of the Girona Beatus's making has been of little concern in the scholarship. Through my examination of images that map, chart, or guide, I will discuss how contemporary events and the recent past shaped the iconography of those illuminations in the Girona Beatus. With my project, I hope to contribute to the study of medieval Iberian art, specifically to the study of the Beatus manuscripts, by presenting an alternative framework of questions with which to approach that art. I also hope to encourage a greater level of interaction between art historians and other scholars of medieval Iberia.
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  • Verkerk, Dorothy
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