TitleBreaking Borders between the Human and the Divine
Date/TimeWednesday 6 July 2022: 14.15-15.45
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairDamian Bracken, School of History, University College Cork
Paper 1235-a Regarding the Face of God: 'Picturing' Divinity according to the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Traditions
(Language: English)
Gamble Madsen, Art Division, Monterey Peninsula College, California
Index Terms: Art History - General; Theology
Paper 1235-b The Imperial Theology of the Cult of the Mother of God in Byzantium, Hungary, and the Kyivan Rus'
(Language: English)
Sándor Földvári, Faculty of Humanities, University of Debrecen / Academy of Sciences of Hungary
Index Terms: Art History - Painting; Byzantine Studies; Mentalities; Political Thought
Paper 1235-c Visual Allegory: Art and Meaning Underneath the Crossing Vault of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi
(Language: English)
Stav Lavon, Department of Art History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Index Terms: Art History - Painting; Monasticism; Rhetoric
AbstractPaper -a:
Although the veneration of a singular God is foundational for medieval Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions their translations (both literal and visual) of divinity are diverse. Despite their differences, the omnipresence, eternal power, and grace of God transcend the 'borders' of these perspectives to ultimately inspire and assure consolation within the imaginations of the faithful. This presentation will examine select manuscript illustrations sourced from the broad period of the Middle Ages (9th - early 15th centuries) to appreciate the compelling means by which the presence - and essential power - of God were communicated across time and location within these unique monotheistic populations.

Paper -b:
Various types of icons were symbols of the various and different cults of the Mother of God. The counterpoint of the imperial cult and the church (monastic) cult by the different rules of types of the icons of the Holy Virgin: the Hodegetria icon, which depicts the Mother showing to the Child who is 'the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6), was carried in the processions on the church feasts of the Mother of God; conversely, the other types of Theotokos-icons those depicted the Mother as non-showing the child (such as the Orans, the most ancient type of the Mary-icons), according to Pentcheva, 2006. The Orans was named Blachernitissa because it hung on the gate of the Blachernai-palace of the emperors (Kondakov, 1915), which symbolized the imperial power. The 'daughters' of the Byzantine culture inherited the cult of icons of the Mother of God as the embodiment of the imperial power; it is clearly reflected by the huge Orans-icon in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, which does not have any child on the belly but is depicted as an Empress in purple slippers, having purple girdle (Stepovik 2008). Offering the state to the Mother of God: it was a special act done by the first king of Hungary, Stephen I (Saint) in 1038 on Byzantine pattern, and it got an interpretation in the emphasised Byzantine spirit in the time of reign Béla III, who was brought in the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I, and built the gate 'Porta Speciosa', with a mosaic on Byzantine pattern depicting offering the state to Mary (Földvári, 2018).

Paper -c
The frescoes decorating the crossing vault above the main altar in the basilica of St Francis in Assisi are considered to be the first example of allegorical narratives in monumental scale art. This statement raises questions: how can we define an allegorical narrative? What is the difference between allegorical narrative and other allegorical imagery (as personifications)? Why does it first appear in this specific location and at that specific time? In this short paper, I will attempt to answer these questions as I present the results of the research for my master's thesis. I believe the four allegorical scenes depicted on the crossing vault are a visual response to the allegorical literature that was popular at the same time - the Dream Vision. I believe these relations between visual art and literature to be evidence of a common way of thinking, a certain cognitive mechanism. I suggest a model with which we can begin to understand this mechanism in both art and literature, and subsequently - the limits of each medium. Finally, I suggest that the reason for this artistic innovation lies underneath the paintings - the buried saint.