Between the Picture and the Word

Essays in Commemoration of John Plummer

Edited by Colum Hourihane

Paperback - £27.95

Publication date:

13 September 2005

Length of book:

388 pages


the Index of Christian Art, Princeton University

ISBN-13: 9780976820215

Iconography, the descriptive and classificatory investigation of subject matter in the arts (and often associated with Erwin Panofsky), has been central to art history since the early twentieth century. In this volume from the Index of Christian Art, a group of distinguished scholars makes skilled use of the methodology to examine a number of significant medieval manuscripts, including the Morgan Picture Bible.

Although iconography is often regarded as a means of analyzing the content of a work of art, the essays in Between the Picture and the Word draw upon the methodology to elucidate issues that range from meaning to style and provenance. Large themes, such as architecture, kingship, women, and Judaism, are considered alongside specific details (e.g., poses of authority, pregnancy) in order to shed light on both vernacular and sacred art, the Anglo-Saxon as well as the Jewish, the Bible Historiale as well as the Book of Hours.

Several essays in this volume focus upon the Morgan Picture Bible, famed for its splendid illuminations and the insights they provide into medieval life. Its illuminations—340 in all—present Old Testament stories as dramatic scenes, set in castles and churches, that involve not only warfare but also the daily activities of kings, priests, and warriors as well as ordinary people. These appealing pictures also pose complex questions that are slowly being resolved by scholars. In the Index of Christian Art volume, the iconography of the Picture Bible and many of its details are studied again, yielding results that reinforce, extend, and refute previous scholarship.

Between the Picture and the Word presents some of the most innovative thinking in medieval studies. Its numerous color and black-and-white illustrations enhance the discussions and give readers insight into the beauty of medieval manuscript art.

The contributors are Adelaide Bennett, Alison Beringer, Anne-Marie Bouché, Judith Golden, Gerald Guest, Laura Hollengreen, Libby Karlinger Escobedo, Katrin Kogman-Appel, Jane Rosenthal, Lucy Freeman Sandler, Marianna Shreve Simpson, Judith Steinhoff, Patricia Stirnemann, Alison Stones, and William Voelkle.

“All academic libraries should have a copy of this valuable scholarly resource.”

International Review of Biblical Studies