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Visual Polemics in the Ninth-Century Byzantine Psalters

Visual Polemics in the Ninth-Century Byzantine Psalters
Iconophile Imagery in Three Ninth-Century Byzantine Psalters

  • Date Published: August 1992
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print April 1998
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521400503

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  • Among the first works of art produced after Iconoclasm was defeated in 843, the Byzantine Marginal Psalters provide a rare glimpse into the world of scholarship and religious and political debate that occupied some of the leading intellectuals in Constantinople. The manuscripts are best known for their depictions of the heroes and villains of the Iconoclastic controversy: Iconoclasts whitewashing the icons of Christ, and Iconophiles triumphing over defeated Iconoclasts. But these psalters contain hundreds of marginal images - some literal, some typological - most of which have no apparent relationship to Iconoclasm. These have been the most difficult images to interpret. If not Iconophile polemics, what motivated the artists or their patrons in the choice of illustrations? The purpose of this book is to show that the marginal psalters are indeed polemical, but their stance is not simply anti-Iconoclastic. Image after image seems directed towards defining and defending the Orthodox position, not only on the question of images, but on most of the essential points of Orthodox Christian dogma. And the opponents being refuted are not just Iconoclasts, but Jews and Muslims as well. After Iconoclasm ended, those who had been the most avid defenders of the images now used these images to defend Orthodoxy and condemn its enemies.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1992
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521400503
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 262 x 185 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.972kg
    • contains: 115 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print April 1998
  • Author

    Kathleen Corrigan

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