New Publication: Color in Cusanus, by Jeffrey F. Hamburger

The great scholar, theologian, and church politician of the 15th century, Nikolaus von Kues (Nicholas of Cusa), was convinced that diagrams can help convey the highest and divine truth. That is why he himself had colored graphics for symbolization in the center of his De Coniecturis. During the implementation of the early printing process – a quantum leap for the distribution of the works – this dimension of meaning was lost with the reduction to black and white representation. Research, too, has so far completely overlooked their relevance. For Nikolaus, and like the panel painting of his time, color represents the penetration of space with and through light: light and dark gripping in Cusanus, and God’s recognizability and concealment in one another, were the two central axioms of his theology. The color in the diagrams is, as Jeffrey Hamburger deciphers for the first time, an invitation to the viewer to search for the same truth that the symbols exemplify.

Jeffrey F. Hamburger is the Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture at Harvard University and an internationally renowned expert on sacred art of the high and late Middle Ages, in particular on the function of images in theology, mysticism and piety, as well as for manuscript illumination.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Thinking Through Diagrams
Chapter 2: Color as Vector
Chapter 3: Cusan Speculation
Chapter 4: Diagrams in Action
Chapter 5: Color in De coniecturis
Chapter 6: An Orb in the Hand of God
Color Plates
Manuscript Index
Subject Index

For complete information and to purchase this title, please visit Hiersemann Verlag:


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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