New Publication: ‘Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, Volume 7’, ed. John A. Cotsonis

From Harvard University Press

Dumbarton Oaks houses the largest collection of Byzantine lead seals in the world, with approximately 17,000 specimens. Volume 7 of the ongoing series of Dumbarton Oaks catalogues presents a distinct part of the collection: 572 anonymous seals bearing sacred images on both sides. The seals, almost all previously unpublished, are fully illustrated and accompanied by a detailed commentary that provides transcriptions of the identifying sigla. This volume represents the first attempt to analyze this group of seals chronologically and typologically.

The depictions of Christ, the Virgin, and a remarkably wide array of saints and narrative scenes offer rich and untapped material for scholars interested in Byzantine piety and culture. Discernible trends within this body of seals help to track the popularity of various saints and the changes in devotional images over time. The variety of these images, enhanced by reference to examples in other collections, will also enable scholars to compare the renderings of holy figures on lead seals to those appearing in other Byzantine religious images.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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