Monthly Archives: May 2019

Why Put Artwork All Over Your Document? Querying Illuminated Charters

Why would you want to insert penworked letters, gold-leaf and illuminations on your legal document: company statues, a contract, a grant of land or even an indulgence? This may seem like a waste of time in the modern business context, but in the medieval culture visuals carried their own significance. The messages could be multiple. Look, it’s important, because whoever ordered or produced this document put extra time and materials into it! This document won’t get thrown away, because it’s so beautiful! It’s so rich, it must be authentic. Not to mention the visual shorthand the illuminations would generate for the document’s content. All of which, of course, could be highly misleading, because a forgery can get illuminated just as easily as an original, which I learned through my study of medieval Livonian charters.

Illuminated indulgence at the State Archives in Vienna

Illuminated indulgence at the State Archives in Vienna

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Book roundup: The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c.1300-1540, by Michael Carter

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The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c.1300-1540

Author: Michael Carter

Publisher: Brepols

2019, c. 328 pages
ISBN: 978-2-503-58193-4
Retail price: EUR 100,00 excl. tax

A major reappraisal of the art and architecture of the Cistercians in the late Middle Ages.

The Cistercian abbeys of northern England provide some of the finest monastic remains in all of Europe, and much has been written on their twelfth- and thirteenth-century architecture. The present study is the first in-depth analysis of the art and architecture of these northern houses and nunneries in the late Middle Ages, and questions many long-held opinions about the Order’s perceived decline during the period c.1300–1540. Extensive building works were conducted between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries at well-known abbeys such as Byland, Fountains, Kirkstall, and Rievaulx, and also at lesser-known houses including Calder and Holm Cultram, and at many convents of Cistercian nuns. This study examines the motives of Cistercian patrons and the extent to which the Order continued to enjoy the benefaction of lay society.

Featuring over a hundred illustrations and eight colour plates, this book demonstrates that the Cistercians remained at the forefront of late medieval artistic developments, and also shows how the Order expressed its identity in its visual and material cultures until the end of the Middle Ages.

Book roundup: Illuminated Charters

Illuminierte Urkunden. Beiträge aus Diplomatik, Kunstgeschichte und Digital Humanities/Illuminated Charters. Essays from Diplomatic, Art History and Digital Humanities

illuminated chartersEdited by: Gabriele Bartz und Markus Gneiß

2018, Ca. 520 S.
116 s/w- und 75 farb. Abb.
23.5 x 15.5 cm
Preis: ca. € 70.00 [D]  |   ca. € 70.00 [A]
978-3-412-51108-1

Illuminierte Urkunden sind lange Zeit als Stiefkinder der Forschung behandelt worden. Nicht zuletzt durch den Einsatz digitaler Hilfsmittel sind sie im vergangenen Jahrzehnt zunehmend in das Licht der Öffentlichkeit getreten. Das neu geweckte Forschungsinteresse konzentriert sich auf die veränderte Performativität von Urkunden durch den Zusatz von Schmuckelementen. Der reich bebilderte Band präsentiert Aufsätze von Forscherinnen und Forschern aus elf Ländern, die illuminierte Urkunden aus den unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln ihrer Disziplinen untersuchen.

The book is an interdisciplinary work in diplomatics and art history, focusing on the form and function of illumination in historical documents, notably charters. The contributions in German and English are based on the conference papers delivered at the international conference on Illuminated Charters as part of the Illuminierte Urkunden project conducted at the University of Graz.