INVENTING ABSTRACTION, CA. 950
Focusing on the so-called Astor Lectionary, a tenth-century manuscript from Corvey, preserved today at the New York Public Library, this talk explores the various strategies of non-figural illumination in early Ottonian art. Apart from a few notable exceptions, earlier generations of scholars dismissed the Astor Lectionary and others like it—the so-called “Ornamental Group” of manuscripts from Corvey—as being primarily “imageless” (bildlos). As this talk demonstrates, however, recent shifts in the discipline of art history—along with the main trajectories of art itself in the early twentieth century—made it possible to see these old manuscripts in new ways. Through their remarkable approach to painting, these manuscripts demand a consideration that goes beyond the traditionally-employed methods of style and iconography—one that examines instead how their non-figural illumination affects reading practices, generates meaning, and engages with the historical context in which the manuscripts were created.
- Sponsored by:
- History of Arts and Architecture