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TitleThe Living Icon in Byzantium and Italy: The Vita Image, Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size17.1 MB
Total Pages302
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Half-title page
Title page
Copyright page
Dedication
Epigraph
Contents
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Plates
Introduction: The Metaphor of the "Living Icon"
	The “Living Icon” and Its Problems
	The Vita Image as a Metapicture
	Organizational Tactics
	Broader Horizons
Chapter One The Saint in the Text
	Notes on a Trial
	Definitions and Reading Practices
	Icon and Relic
	Ciborium and Taphos: The Reliquaries of St. Demetrios
	Morphe and Eikon: The Artist Who “Failed”
	Charakter and Eikon: The Artist Who “Succeeded”
	Creator and Creation
	Eikon: Fluctuating Presence
Chapter Two The Saint in the Image
	Holy Man or Fraud?
	The Man of Sorrows and Ontological Conundrums
	Nascent Narratives: The Metaphrastean and Imperial Menologia
	Twelfth-Century Developments
	The Eustratios Beam
	The Case of the Vita Icons
	St. Nicholas: Absence and Presence
	St. George: Repetition and Defacement
	St. John the Baptist: The Icon and the Relic
	Conclusion
Chapter Three “Wrought by the Finger of God”
	The Transparent and Opaque Saint
	The Vita Prima: Legal Conundrums
	Revelation and Concealment
	Stigmata and Stones
	The Vita Secunda
	The Treatise on the Miracles
	Bonaventure’s Seal
	The Legenda Maior and the Legenda Minor
	The Body as a Cipher
Chapter Four Depicting Francis’s Secret
	The Case of the Vanishing Stigmata
	Bonaventura Berlinghieri’s Stigmata
	Causes and Effects
	The General and the Particular: The Bardi Panel
	The Body and the Document: The Pistoia Panel
	The Layered Body and the Hidden Body: The Assisi Panel
	A Strategic Illusionism
Epilogue: Francis in Constantinople
	A Detour in Constantinople
	The Kalenderhane Site: Franciscan or Dominican?
	The Franciscan Frescoes: A Crusader Product?
	Francis’s Image: Legitimization or Conversion?
	An Act of Iconoclasm?
	The End
Notes
	Introduction: The Metaphor of the “Living Icon”
	Chapter One: The Saint in the Text
	Chapter Two: The Saint in the Image
	Chapter Three: “Wrought by the Finger of God”
	Chapter Four: Depicting Francis’s Secret
	Epilogue: Francis in Constantinople
Bibliography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 151

16. “I must be baptized by you,” the Baptist bowing to Christ (detail), vita icon of St. John
the Baptist. Courtesy of the Michigan-Princeton-Alexandria Expedition to Mount Sinai.

The Saint in the Image 117

Page 152

the Baptism, each of those conditions being distinct from the other

(Figs. 16 and 17). This is also the case with the crowds that John baptizes,

who in the process of baptism leave behind their former selves and

identities for a Christian mode of life. But the most startling, indeed

gruesome, transformations on the panel are reserved for the Forerunner

himself. The scene above the bottom of the left grid depicts the aftermath

of the decapitation, with John’s head severed from his body, scarlet

strands of blood dripping from it (Fig. 18). The body is an ungainly

trunk, grotesque and bulkier than the lanky figure towering at the center

of the panel. Just as St. George’s icon suffered singular distortions in

successive episodes, the Baptist’s icon is violently sundered. But the

creativity of the series of tortures inflicted on George is not in evidence

here. The Baptist’s body instantly disappears from view whereas his head

forms the dominant motif of the entire bottom row of the panel.

The first scene at the bottom left depicts the head’s advent into

Herod’s court (Fig. 19). This establishes the iconic formula – the proto-

typical image, if you will – of the Baptist’s avatar after death. It is the first

stage in the process that will culminate in the head becoming a relic. The

next scene, a spatially extended elaboration of the head’s reception at

court, requires some discussion (Fig. 20). It corresponds to the scene in

the top grid where Zacharias and Elizabeth embrace in joyful anticipa-

tion of the Baptist’s birth, his imminent presence (Fig. 21). Right below

looms the Baptist in his full form; the fruit of that embrace (Fig. 15).

Below him is Herod’s court. The Baptist’s figure is radically broken now;

his head appears at the far left with an abraded figure of Salome (Fig. 20).

The Baptist’s head is supported by a female form in transparent robes

with tassels, one arm prominently holding it aloft. The composition

appears to place the head squarely on that of the woman’s (presumably

Salome’s) voluptuous body, thus forming an emphatic contrast to the

ascetic figure right above them. The final scene depicts the Baptist’s head

once again, resting on the earth. Three men with tapers surround it,

alluding to its “unearthing” (Fig. 22).

The bottom row of this vita icon unveils the stages by which a body
part finally becomes a venerated fragment in its own right. The first two

scenes display the Baptist’s head in conjunction with hands, and the

second scene, with a platter that resembles – but is decidedly not – a

paten. This visual pun is misleading, as it can trick a viewer into believing

118 The Living Icon in Byzantium and Italy

Page 301

Treatise on the Miracles, 148, 150, 151,
152, 163

Uffizi panel, 142
Vita Prima, 136, 139, 140, 152, 169,
171

Vita Secunda, 147, 148, 152
stigmatization

and sealing, 154, 155, 156
Bardi panel, 186, 189, 191–95, 197
challenges of describing, 2
description of, 161
Julian of Speyer, 145
Legend for Use in the Choir, 134
Major Legend, 153, 156, 159
metaphors of, 129
mimesis and, 130
paradox of, 128
Pescia panel, 171, 176, 177,
178, 181

Pistoia panel, 198, 200
secret nature of, 128, 137
St. Francis of Assisi, 162
textual accounts of, 19
Treatise on the Miracles, 148, 150, 151,
152

Uffizi panel, 142
Vita Prima, 131, 140, 157
Vita Secunda, 146, 147, 148

Symeon Eulabes, 30, 31, 32, 65,
69, 224

Symeon Metaphrastes, 73

taphos, 45
templon beam, 72, 73, 87, 88
St. Eustratios, 81, 82, 83, 85,
86, 90

vita icon/image and, 87
The New Theologian, Symeon, 18, 24,

30, 31, 32, 224, 248, 252
Theodora of Thessalonike, 41, 226,

227, 229
Theodore Balsamon, 67, 68
Theodore of Stoudios, 33, 40, 57, 64,

101
Theophylact of Ohrid, 62, 63, 64

Thomas of Celano, 22, 127–51, 157,
158, 160, 163, 169, 170, 171, 175,
177, 184, 185, 187, 189, 195, 198,
222, 225, 234–43, 256

Treatise on the Miracles, 145, 148, 149,
151, 152

stigmata, 163
typos, 53

vision
Bardi panel, 191, 192, 198
competing theories of, 38
direct and indirect, 37
extramission, 38
Franciscan concept of, 27
icon and, 66
Life of Irene of Chrysobalanton, 56, 57,

60, 61
Life of Nikon, 48, 55
Major Legend, 156, 158
monastic treatises and, 124
ontological states and, 13
Pescia panel, 16, 175
Pistoia panel, 199
St. Eustratios, 11, 83, 85
St. Francis of Assisi, 131, 132, 150,
168

St. Nicholas, 91, 94, 102
state assumed by a saint, 10
Symeon the New Theologian, 18
Treatise on the Miracles, 152
vita icon/image and, 1, 166, 167
Vita Secunda, 148

vita icon/image
absence and, 112
as agent of exchange, 213
“aesthetic of interruption and,” 90
ancestors of, 87
Assisi panel, 203, 204, 211
Bardi panel, 195, 198
Byzantine and Franciscan concerns

and, 17
Byzantine sources of, 167
Christ, Theotokos and, 125
commentary on visual mediation, 2

Index 267

Page 302

vita icon/image (cont.)
crafting of, 123
demise of, 125
different kinds of spectatorship, 13
diffusion of, 6
display of, 89
emergence of, 2, 88, 215
as equivocal representation, 15
Franciscan, 23, 26, 27, 166, 167,

168, 206
iconographic registers, 69
intellectual developments relating

to, 6
iterative qualities of, 28
Kalenderhane Camii, 208, 210, 211,
213, 215

legitimization and, 211
link between Byzantium and
Italy, 12

“living” icon and, 5
Mandylion, 125
metapicture and, 13, 14
monastic context and, 124
nomenclature and, 14
ontological complexity and, 70
origins of, 123
Pescia panel, 15
pictorial categories of, 13
Pistoia panel, 198
popularity of, 123
potential for critique, 13
presence and, 86
problems with, 125, 126
prototype and, 69, 88
reading practices and, 124
replication and, 88
representation and, 15, 16

role of, 5, 6
scholarly consensus regarding, 5
self-reflexivity of, 123
sequential narrative and, 89
St. Francis of Assisi, 126, 165, 166,

167, 172, 206
St. George, 103
St. George (Sinai), 111, 112
St. John the Baptist, 114, 115, 118
St. Marina, 87
St. Nicholas, 78, 90, 102, 112
templon beam and, 73, 87

Vita of Symeon the New Theologian,
30

Vita Prima, 131, 133, 134, 136,
138, 143, 146–54, 157, 169,
171, 174, 184, 189, 190, 191,
195, 198

Vita Secunda, 145–49, 152, 159, 187

witness
Bardi panel, 193
Charters of Christ, 155
contested notion of, 22
Franciscan notion of, 27
Major Legend, 159
Minor Legend, 160
papal statutes and, 19
Pescia panel, 173, 177, 178,

181, 184
Roman curia and, 129
St. Francis of Assisi, 155, 162
stigmatization and, 129, 162
Thomas of Celano, 137, 151
Treatise on the Miracles, 151, 163
vita icon/image and, 166, 167
Vita Secunda, 148, 152

268 Index

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