2008 | 41 |
Article title

„Figura” i „forma”. O funkcji obrazów w kulturze wieków średnich na przykładzie XII-wiecznych przedstawień kosmologicznych w Chronicon Zwiefaltense Minus

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„FIGURE” AND „FORM.” ON THE FUNCTION OF IMAGES IN MEDIEVAL CULTURE ON THE EXAMPLE OF 12TH-CENTURY COSMOLOGICAL ILLUMINATIONS IN CHRONICON ZWIEFALTENSE MINUS The text inquires into the function and meaning of two miniatures in the 12th-century manuscript Chronicon Zwiefaltense Minus (Stuttgart, W.L.B., MS. Hist. Fol. 415; 1138–1147). They are two pagesized compositions on cosmological subjects printed on a single leaf in the manuscript (folio 17). They are a picture of the creation of the world and a complex image of time rendered in cycles. I study the composition of both miniatures and relative placement of their elements. Then I analyze their iconography based on a Medieval alegoresis of visions of the world. These interpretations lead to the conclusion that both pictures make up a thematic and formal whole. They are an example of an extraordinarily refi ned use of visual forms conveying a theological commentary to Genesis. It is possible to verify this interpretation by considering what purpose the diptych might have served inserted in a short compilation of texts on astronomy, which is the subject of the last part of the article. I point to the notions fi gura and formatione with which both miniatures are introduced in the text of Chronicon Zwiefaltense Minus and go on to quote some examples of how such references were understood in the writings of Hugo of St. Victor and Honorius of Autun. In this light, the diptych appears to be an attempt to visualizenot so much the fi gures of time or of creation, but the forming process of universal order. Both images were created to replace a verbal expression as was the case in texts like De Arca Noe Mystica by Hugo of St. Victor. This time, the chosen medium was a picture employing special personifi cations to combine inscriptions, iconographic themes, all appropriately spaced respective to the rest. The cosmological diptych in question may be treated as an instrument in the open process of conceptualizing, modeling, and forming a vision of the world. The miniatures are not fi gures, or representations of observable processes such as alternating seasons. This twin vision consists of a number of fi gu res and inscriptions arranged to produce a new whole – a condensed record of the natural order forming of the world and the Ecclesia at the moment of creation. In this light, a fi eld opens for further refl ection on Medieval designations for visual forms such as imago, typus, or the technical pictura. Associating them with specifi c images may lead to an interesting reevaluation of the role of images in Medieval sources.
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