Edited by Hans Belting, Ivan Foletti & Martin F. Lešák
Edited by Elisabetta Scirocco & Gerhard Wolf
Edited by A. Murphy, H. L. Kessler, M. Petoletti, E. Duffy & G. Milanese
Edited by Ivan Foletti & Erik Thunø
Edited by Anna Boreczky
Edited by Ivan Foletti & Herbert L. Kessler
Edited by Klara Benešovská, Ivan Foletti & Serena Romano
Ivan Foletti and Francesco Lovino eds.
Ivan Foletti and Adrien Palladino eds.
Manuela Gianandrea eds.
Zuzana Frantová eds.
Ivan Foletti ed.
Ivan Foletti, Katarína Kravčíková, Adrien Palladino and Sabina Rosenbergová eds.
Ivan Foletti, Francesco Lovino, Veronika Tvrzníková eds.
Herbert L. Kessler
Ivan Foletti, Karolina Foletti, Martin F. Lešák, Petr M. Vronský eds.
Ivan Foletti, Michal Kolář eds.
Ivan Foletti, Zuzana Frantová, Monika Kučerová eds.
Ivan Foletti, Manuela Gianandrea, Serena Romano and Elisabetta Scirocco eds.
Ivan Foletti, Irene Quadri, Marco Rossi eds.
Alžběta Filipová, Zuzana Frantová, Francesco Lovino eds.
Ivan Foletti ed.
Ravenna was one of the most significant administrative, political, and religious centres of the late antique period. This book focuses on the period between the transfer of the imperial court to Ravenna (402) and the last western emperor Romulus Augustus’ deposition by the Germanic commander Odoacer (476), a period when Ravenna was the seat of western emperors. The book is premised on the author’s conviction that individual surviving examples of architecture, along with their decoration, sarcophagi, ivory, and gold objects, can be best understood not only by examining their historical context and iconography, but also looking at the very material of these objects and how their production was organised. The book therefore focuses primarily on craftsmen and their traditions, and deliberate breaks with tradition, and on the way workmen moved about the late antique world and thereby fostered the exchange and spread of technology and artistic models. It thus present Ravenna not as an isolated phenomenon (as Ravenna is very often presented in the literature) but as one of many players in the political, ecclesiastical, and social games of the late antique world.
If there is one constant in the history of Christianity and especially of the Western Church, it is its deep desire to be connected with its own past. From the perspective of the longue durée, it might even be possible to state that a meditation on Christian origins was a common and widespread response used throughout history in the face of each great moment of crisis within the Church. In those situations, the rhetoric produced by the Church was always aimed at emphasizing a desire to return to these mythical roots, the ideal community, a pure and radical Christianity. The question underlying this book is the way in which this desire for the past provides the occasion to re-live, re-think and re-create Christian origins. More precisely, the crux of our work is to understand how this desire can transform and rewrite the past both in materiality – with restorations of ancient monuments – and in ideas – writing history. In this book, the main focus of attention is dedicated to three key moments, corresponding more or less to three crucial episodes in the history of the Catholic Church in the modern era. The first of these three is the Reformation and subsequent Counter-Reformation, between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Second comes the moment in which the Catholic Church lost its temporal power during the Unification of Italy and the “spiritual” reaction culminating with the First Vatican Council (1869–1870). Lastly is the period before and after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), which can be considered the most significant reaction of Catholicism towards modernity.
Contributors: N. Barbolani di Montauto, X. Barral i Altet, N. Bock, V. Cantone, S. Cracolici, A. Di Croce, S. D’Ovidio, I. Foletti, J. Gebhardt, M. Gianandrea, O. Jakubec, J. Klípa, V. Lucherini, F. Malesevic, S. Pierguidi, C. Piva, S. Rosenbergová, M. Santanicchia, E. Scirocco, I. Fiumi Sermattei, A. Tranchina.
The Ambrosian basilica in Milan, built first in the age of Ambrose (374–397) and radically reconstructed at the end of the eleventh century, is an extraordinary place of memoria, where many medieval objects and monuments are present.
By studying a few famous artworks preserved in the basilica, such as the Chapel San Vittore in Ciel d’Oro, the golden altar, and the ciborium of Saint Ambrose, this book explores interactions between the topology of the building and its objects, the relics the basilica was constructed around, and which have the notion “migrating”. In other words, we would like to analyse in the longue durée how the objects became understood as relics and materialized sanctity, derived from them, and served as an instrument of exclusion and instruction in their ethnically problematic context.
This volume presents a rich photographic material, which was made especially for this publication.
Plotinus and the Origins of Medieval Aesthetics, an iconic essay of byzantinist André Grabar, first published in 1945 in French, is here presented to the reader for the first time translated in English. It is preceded by an historiographical introduction by Adrien Palladino, presenting the genesis of the text, replacing it within the opus of the scholar, and assessing its relevance within the new horizons of the field of art history.
This book is a summary of the contributions presented at the conference of the same name, which took place at the ceremonial opening of the Hans Belting Library in Brno.
What was the role of women in the Church? Nowadays, women, not allowed to be consecrated, are found outside the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is made up of only consecrated individuals. But was it always like this? The book Ženy u oltáře. Nikdy? (Women at the Altar. Never?) looks to answer this question.The author includes artwork from the second and third century to the debate, when a new iconography of the Mother of God appears. There are a few types of depictions of Mary that arise around 400. In these images, she has a maforium, a heavy mantle of wives and widows, or, in a second type of depiction, a stole appears under her mantle. Compared with other artworks and written sources from the same epoch, we can conclude that the maforium and stole were a liturgic garment. Attributes of newly consecrated women, who belonged in the Church hierarchy for a short period, would have been, therefore, projected onto the new iconography of the Mother of God, and this depiction would suggest that these women were under Mary’s protection. The social situation was, nevertheless, changing quickly, and women lost their part of Church leadership in the sixth century. Their function was limited to monastic life from then on. However, the depiction of the Mother of God with the stole and maforium has been preserved, and is a precious document for studying the position of women in the Late Antique Church. The book shows that women – whether called diacons, priestesses, or consecrated widows – had their place in the hierarchy of the Late Antique Church.
Is it possible to reconstruct the feeling of a medieval pilgrim walking towards the sacred? No, it is not. And yet, the experimental project Migrating Art Historians sought to delve into this impossibility. Journeying by foot over more than 1,500 km, twelve modern pilgrims – students and scholars from Masaryk University – reached some of the most impressive artistic monuments of medieval France.
One year later, this book presents their intellectual, human, and art historical theoretical know-how, transformed by the experience of their bodies. In this context, exhausted and activated bodies became instruments asking new questions to medieval artworks and sources. Structured as a walk along pilgrimage routes, this book presents firstly the landscape, followed by liminal zones, before leading the reader inside medieval churches and ultimately towards the sacred. Original scientific art historical research combines with personal engagement. What emerges is the subject confronted with the experience of medieval art.
Today, the question of the origins of Christian aesthetics is no longer a topical issue in medieval art history, although a persuasive answer has never been formulated. One of the reasons for this oblivion deals with the looming figure of Josef Strzygowski, who published his pivotal volume Orient oder Rom in 1901, now discredited for its racial and proto-Nazi ideas. However, the debate does not concern Strzygowski alone: the prodromes of this critical concept go back to the nineteenth century, when the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires fought to control contested territories, and studies of the humanities mirrored these conflicts. This volume, originating in the urgency to reflect on this pivotal conundrum in our field, attempts to reconstruct the (mis)fortune of a question that, according to Alois Riegl, “is the most important and most trenchant one in the entire history of mankind to date”.
The city has always been, and remains, the ideal place of collective rituality. It is the city that has hosted, since Antiquity, collective celebrations of victory, important religious ceremonies, but also ritual consecrations of the elite. Based on these essential notions, the aim of this book is to reflect on a specific issue: the interaction between ritual and city space. Our wish is to understand, in a multidisciplinary and cross-epochal approach, how a collective liturgy, civic or religious, can unfold within the public space and transform it. In addition to sacred buildings and seizures of power, the square and the streets become in this sense important identity-shaping loci. Bringing places of power to the street or the square – which are by definition liminal spaces – means entering into a dialogue constructed between those who organise the ritual, those who perform it and those who witness it. It seems that it is in compromise between the different components of society that collective rituals can happen within the public space. Therefore, it is no surprise that the crucial question for this book is the way in which this same space is adapted to the requirements of the ritual, or, on the contrary, how the ritual adapts to the space.
Tracing the life and work of Nikodim Kondakov, a pioneer in the field of late Antiquity and Byzantium in eastern Europe, this biography is a true tale of adventure. It follows the complicated and challenging events in Kondakov’s life before and after the Russian Revolution, from his humble beginnings to his university studies and analyzes his inspired creation of an innovative and precocious study of art history in Russia. From a brilliant and successful career to the trauma endured during the Russian Revolution, the story becomes one of wandering and dependence; nevertheless, and in spite of the shift in history and in his own life, Kondakov’s studies sketch a vast geography of Late Antique and medieval culture from the Mediterranean to the Urals. The work approaches distant horizons, giving a glimpse at the migrations from Asia and the inception of medieval Europe with its Christian values; and it travels the paths of history along trails marked by artifacts and monuments. Reconstructing the personal and existential events in Nikodim Kondakov’s life contributes to the understanding of a critical phase in the founding of art history and, more broadly, the histories of Russia and of the countries the scholar traversed during a long life filled with tribulations.
The present work is the first monographic book published in English, since 1910, on the history of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. In comparison to other Holy Land monuments, this particular site has undergone relatively minor alterations in the course of time. Spared from the destructions that affected other holy sites, such as the Holy Sepulchre, the basilica at Bethlehem stands out for its well-preserved architecture, dating from the late 6th century, and its exuberant mosaic décors completed in 1169, in the period of Crusader rule in Palestine. This book offers a general description of the vicissitudes of the holy site since its very beginnings in Late Antiquity until the present times, with a special focus on the ways in which the complex relationship between the underground holy site, the Nativity cave, housing the very spot of Christ’s birthplace and the manger, and the sumptuously decorated upper church, came to be variously negotiated in the course of time by means of different forms of mise-en-scène. The book is accompanied by a rich apparatus of colour illustrations, plans, and a bibliographic appendix.
The objective of this book is to draw attention to fifth-century Rome – to those hundred years which even today need to be looked at from different perspectives. It is a key moment, a border between worlds, far too important not to receive further attention.
The studies, presented together here, aim to respond to new demands: the art object remains at the centre, but with a new search for its context. This context would be unthinkable without the key concept of co-existence – between popular and elite culture, popes and emperors, pagans and Christians. As well as between liturgy – intrinsically necessary to the Christian world – and patronage – the intellectual project which stems from a cultural concept. Moreover, co-existence is crucial between the mindset of the Roman elites (the tradition inscribed in the city’s DNA), and new internal and external demands arising from this rich moment in the history of Rome.
The fifth-century, studied in this book, is the moment in which future and past meet, where Antique and Christian coincide. An artistic moment with a single identifying feature: its incredibly rich complexity.
Autoreferentiality as a prism through which Late Antique and Medieval Milan can be read is the connecting theme underlying the seven essays in this book. Milan, the capital of the empire, known since the episcopate of Ambrose as a first-rate ecclesiastical metropole and a powerful commune, had exceptional long-lasting development. Nevertheless, its stratification – historical, cultural and material – has only been sporadically explored from an autoreferential perspective. Instead, the focus has been Medieval mentality and the city of Milan, where the tradition came to guarantee the key role of this place, which the Lombardian capital tended to use throughout the Middle Ages.
Immaterial patrimony and the material city – represented by the Basilica Ambrosiana, the pivot of the culture and conscience of the citizens – have been explored from a multidisciplinary point of view. The analysis of historians, archaeologists, art historians and philologists allows us to distinguish the nodal points of this mechanism, providing an innovative all-round vision to better understand what relationship Milan had with its own past, and how this very past constituted the continuity from which the image of the city was formed, to become a fundamental identity aggregator.
The Ani Bůh ani člověk (Neither God nor Man) is a recent work by Herbert L. Kessler. The first edition was published in 2007 as a part of an edition concerning literary sources for artworks. The main aim of this book is the question of legitimacy of depicting God in medieval visual art, and therefore, despite its small size, we can consider it as a synthesis of the author’s scholarly interests. The fisrt Czech translation of the volume is coming to our readers now. It was translated in an unconventional way. The book is a result of a collaboration of students of the Department of Art History, at the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University.
At the top of the Aventine Hill, the Basilica of Santa Sabina stands – one of the most significant monuments of the Late Ancient world. Its main entrance is composed of a spacious narthex, with extraordinary pieces of art, such as an ancient wooden door, a decorative imitation of marble from the fifth century, and an Early Medieval image of Theotokos. The narthex, long overlooked in the research, must have originally been a highly pompous space. However, the importance of the entire building does not reside in its pieces of art, but above all in the place, which the former was intended and created for. The narthex was very probably meant for catechumens and penitents, and must have been a very liminal zone, a world between worlds, the zone of physical and spiritual transition.
This volume attempts to explore this place as a whole, focusing on its historiography, archaeology and decorations, in order to reveal the face of the Late Antiquity, extraordinarily preserved. We would like to offer our reader a synergic view, to show how various coexisting media can lead to an exhaustive comprehension of a Late Antique artistic scene.
In the third volume of Zápisky z cest (Notes from Journeys), we explore Moscow and Novgorod, as recorded by the group of teachers and students from the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University in Brno. In composing this publication based on their excursion in November 2014, they aimed to share their gathered knowledge to introduce the (mainly medieval) monuments located in these cities. Nevertheless, the result of their work is not just a simple guidebook to medieval artworks. The current political situation, era of stalinism, the avant-garde of the twentieth century and the reception of medieval art in the nineteenth century are reflected here as well. Moreover, in addition to the entries on crucial monuments of Moscow and Novgorod, the reader can find historiographical reflections and basic bibliographies on each of topics.
In April 2014, a group of 22 students and teachers gathered in Palermo in Sicily. They were from four different institutions – the Universities of Brno, Lausanne and Vienna, and the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence. Their objective was to explore the monuments of the Sicilian Middle Ages, mainly those from the twelfth century. Excursion participants decided, in the footsteps of those on the previous excursion to the Balkans, to share their experiences with a broader public. Just as in the case of the first volume dedicated to the Balkans, this small book is an opuscule, with no ambition of being innovative. It should introduce one of the most interesting and beautiful cultures of the Mediterranean to the Czech public. The authors of most of the texts are students who participated in the excursion. They aimed to compose texts to engage the attention of both the academic and public sphere, and at the same time, they wanted to offer the chance to those interested to consult the best scholarly output on Sicily through a very rich bibliography.
This volume was born from a desire to leave a tangible trace of the scholarly encounters that have taken place in the past two years at the Center for Early Medieval Studies, Department of Art History, Masaryk University in Brno. Speaking in various forums – structured courses as well as stand-alone lectures – Xavier Barral i Altet, Nicolas Bock, Valentina Cantone, Herbert Kessler, Serena Romano, Elisabetta Scirocco, and Jean-Michel Spieser have sparked exciting discussions of what continues to be known as the Middle Ages.
The common denominator that unites all of the scholarly work presented here was the dialogue between the medieval "present" and the Antique world: from Venice to Campania to Milan, from Constantinople to Burgundy, there had emerged an intellectual and visual experience that suggests the medieval period was a uniquely fertile moment for the engagement with the heritage of Antiquity, filtered and mediated in different ways, but ever present.
The purpose of this volume is to understand why and how patterns, images and ideas from the mythical (but visible) ancient past were received throughout the medieval millennium. We seek to understand why, hic et nunc, clients and workshops deliberately chose to speak in a "classicizing" aesthetic language, and to appropriate concepts belonging to the Antique tradition wholesale.
This publication presents the proceedings of an International PhD student conference, held on December 5–6, 2013, organized in cooperation with the Dipartimento dei Beni culturali: archeologia, storia dell'arte, del cinema e della musica, University of Padua (Italy), and the Centre of Early Medieval Studies, Department of Art History, Masaryk University in Brno. The central topic of the conference was the study of artworks which are intrinsically linked to the notion of memory. The aims of the organizers were twofold: first of all, to understand how icons, books, reliquaries and other artefacts became vehicles of meanings, which are now mostly incomprehensible, but must have been clear to its contemporary audiences, and second, to understand how these objects could have changed the memory of the places in which they were preserved. The essays in this book thus represent some of the perspectives by which an object can be seen in its historicity.
Two luxurious carved ivory panels, preserved in the cathedral treasury in Milan, are the subject of this monographic study. Determining their origin within the context of Ravenna’s artistic production and dating them more precisely was made possible by enamel, a specific goldsmith technique used. The object dates back to the reign of Majorianus, one of the last emperors of the Western Empire (457–461), and the episcopate of the bishop Neon (450–473). Moreover, a detailed iconological analysis implies that the Milan Diptych could be related to the figure of Pope Leon I the Great and his attempts to enact the results of the Council of Chalcedon, held in 451. Finally, by clarifying the relationship between Ravenna and Rome, it was possible to recognize the probable commissioner of the artefact as Neon I., the Bishop of Ravenna. With his demand, he could publicly claim his allegiance to the main objectives of Leon’s policies; the fight against the Monophysite heresy, and the will to maintain a strong hierarchy in the Church, whose unity was in severe danger in that era.
This volume is the result of a scholarly journey to see the medieval monuments of Macedonia and Greece, organized in 2013 by the Centre for Early Medieval Studies at the Department of History of Art at Masaryk University in Brno. This synthetic “guide”, written by the students, introduces crucial medieval monuments located between Ochrid and Thessaloniki. All decorations and buildings are presented in the form of short entries, where every object is described and interpreted. There is a current bibliography under each entry for those interested in deeper research. Photographs, most of which taken in situ, accompany the entries. There is also a brief vocabulary of scholarly terminology at the reader’s disposal. At the end of the book, the reader can find a chronological summary of all the mosaics and paintings attached, with the artworks the authors of the book encountered during their journey. The publication is a useful instrument for getting to know the artistic production of the Balkans.
Ivan Foletti, Byzantium, Russia and Europe. Historiographical construction, mental space and reality
Jean-Michel Spieser, De Rome à Constantinople et d'un empire à l'autre
Ivan Foletti, Irene Quadri, Roma, l'Oriente e il mito della Traditio Legis
Vladimir Ivanovici, Windows and Church Space in Early Medieval Byzantium and West
Maria Raffaella Menna, Byzantium, Rome, Crusader Kingdoms. Exchanges and Artistic Interactions in the Second Half of the Thirteenth Century
Zuzana Frantová, Kristýna Pecinová, The icon of Old Brno: a reconsideration
Denise Zaru, Gli affreschi della cappella carrarese a Padova: le origini bizantine della narrazione visiva di Guariento
Pavel Rakitin, Byzantine echoes in the nineteenth century press and in the writings of Russian intellectuals
Chiara Croci, L'immagine dell'arte bizantina nella storiografia occidentale di fine '800: il caso dei mosaici del battistero di San Giovanni in Fonte a Napoli
Silvia Pedone, Valentina Cantone, The pseudo-kufic ornament and the problem of crosscultural relationships between Byzantium and Islam
Peter Brown has described the situation of the holy bodies in the Early Christian period like a “place between Earth and Heaven”. The principal aim of this book is precisely to deal with this intersection between two worlds, expressed by the Dead, and in particularly by his images, and his faces.
The first part of this book looks into the portrait and its function, and the reason for which Late Antiquity, following a custom it inherited from previous eras, covered itself with individual images of the deceased. As in previous eras, the portrait appears, above all, to be an attempt to express the individual in his or her entirety; the techniques and “instruments” perfected in the course of the 3rd century, however, lead to divergent formal and conceptual results.
The second question, answered more briefly, deals with the perception and representation of the dead body as a whole, defined by David Le Breton as “la souche identitaire de l'homme.” The question asked is a fundamental one, since we are confronted with humanity itself after its passage to that which lies beyond: whether the body becomes just a memory or whether it preserves the real presence of the man who it once was.