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Author Topic: Book of Kells - Western Iconography?  (Read 1515 times) Average Rating: 0
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Joseph Hazen
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« on: January 27, 2012, 03:23:21 PM »

Has there ever been any talk of using the illuminations from the Book of Kells as a springboard (or even just the illuminations themselves) for a Western Style iconography? When I look at them they certainly seem to have a lot of correlations to traditional Iconography.
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Golgotha
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 04:11:33 PM »

The history of the church in Ireland is fascinating. Here is an interesting website on Ireland and Orthodoxy. http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/oeireland.htm

I think because Ireland was so remote in the Roman Empire it was able to develop it's own unique traditions. Over time Rome cracked down on it and changed it.

~PFJ
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 04:12:14 PM by Golgotha » Logged
Riddikulus
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 04:59:41 PM »

The history of the church in Ireland is fascinating. Here is an interesting website on Ireland and Orthodoxy. http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/oeireland.htm

I think because Ireland was so remote in the Roman Empire it was able to develop it's own unique traditions. Over time Rome cracked down on it and changed it.

~PFJ

The book of Kells isn't purely Celtic art, though. It comes from what is called the Insular or Hiberno-Saxon style, and there is debate as to whether or not the book was produced in Ireland.

The Book of Kells is the most famous, and one of the finest of a group of manuscripts in what is known as the Insular style, produced from the late 6th through the early 9th centuries in monasteries in Ireland, Scotland and England and in continental monasteries with Hiberno-Scottish or Anglo-Saxon foundations.[1] These manuscripts include the Cathach of St. Columba, the Ambrosiana Orosius, a fragmentary Gospel in the Durham cathedral library (all from the early 7th century), and the Book of Durrow (from the second half of the 7th century). From the early 8th century come the Durham Gospels, the Echternach Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels (see illustration at right), and the Lichfield Gospels. Among others, the St. Gall Gospel Book belongs to the late 8th century and the Book of Armagh (dated to 807–809) to the early 9th century.[2] Scholars place these manuscripts together based on similarities in artistic style, script, and textual traditions. The fully developed style of the ornamentation of the Book of Kells places it late in this series, either from the late 8th or early 9th century. The Book of Kells follows many of the iconographic and stylistic traditions found in these earlier manuscripts. For example, the form of the decorated letters found in the incipit pages for the Gospels is surprisingly consistent in Insular Gospels. Compare, for example, the incipit pages of the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels and in the Book of Kells, both of which feature intricate decorative knot work patterns inside the outlines formed by the enlarged initial letters of the text. (For a more complete list of related manuscripts, see: List of Hiberno-Saxon illustrated manuscripts).[3]
 
The name Book of Kells is derived from the Abbey of Kells in Kells, County Meath, which was its home for much of the medieval period. The date and place of production of the manuscript have been the subject of considerable debate. Traditionally, the book was thought to have been created in the time of Columba,[4] possibly even as the work of his own hands. This tradition has long been discredited on paleographic and stylistic grounds: most evidence points to a composition date ca. 800,[5] long after St. Columba's death in 597. The proposed dating in the 9th century coincides with Viking raids on Iona, which began in 794 and eventually dispersed the monks and their holy relics into Ireland and Scotland.[6] There is another tradition, with some traction among Irish scholars, that suggests the manuscript was created for the 200th anniversary of the saint's death.[7]
 
The manuscript was never finished. There are at least five competing theories about the manuscript's place of origin and time of completion. First, the book, or perhaps just the text, may have been created at Iona, then brought to Kells, where the illuminations were perhaps added, and never finished. Second, the book may have been produced entirely at Iona.[8] Third, the manuscript may have been produced entirely in the scriptorium at Kells. Fourth, it may have been produced in the north of England, perhaps at Lindisfarne, then brought to Iona and from there to Kells. Finally, it may have been the product of an unknown monastery in Pictish Scotland, though there is no actual evidence for this theory, especially considering the absence of any surviving manuscript from Pictland.[9] Although the question of the exact location of the book's production will probably never be answered conclusively, the first theory, that it was begun at Iona and continued at Kells, is currently widely accepted.[1] Regardless of which theory is true, it is certain that the Book of Kells was produced by Columban monks closely associated with the community at Iona.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Kells
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 05:00:49 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 01:43:48 AM »

While I can hardly say that some of my ancestors were wrong in their art. I think that the emphasis on geometrical design and somewhat primitive figures can be too far removed from either the typical traditional byzantine or genuine "latin/roman/imperial" western christian art of later periods to satisfy most of us. (good examples of that can be found in monte cassino abbey's books, which despite byzantine influences definitely display distinctly late roman "western" tendencies.)

I would suggest that the Goslarer Evangeliar (Gospels) would be a better model of iconography for most western rite churches.

I think the Antiochians were quite right to suggest "Romanesque" as the ideal form, while certainly allowing for the "pre-romanesque/late antique" as well. While eschewing all but the earliest gothic, which quickly allowed for humanism and artistic license to destroy the original prototypes and mysticism of the pre-1200 so that by the year 1300 very little was easily recognizably left of what came before.

http://www.wbg-wissenverbindet.de/WBGShop/php/Proxy.php?purl=/wbg/products/show,2992.html


« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 01:59:25 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 01:50:41 AM »


L'epistolario miniato di Giovanni da Gaibana, from 1256 AD
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 01:53:05 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 01:54:10 AM »

Also the Hortus Deliciarum

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"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 01:55:57 AM »

I have the facsimilies of these three books and find them to set excellent standards.

an example of the early gothic shown here , while being a particularly nice specimen is approaching a point where it is barely within the orthodox western iconography standards, perhaps just barely...

Of course it takes some study to find these examples, a specialist should be appointed someday to do this.
Yes, this is a very academic approach, but what else is there to do? It would serve the Church well.
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"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
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