International and Global Studies Colloquium “Mimetic Bodies: Repetition, Replication, and Simulation in the Marriage Charter of Empress Theophanu” by Eliza Garrison, associate professor of the history of art and architecture.
As an object and as a collection of text and images, the Marriage Charter of Empress Theophanu (Wolfenbüttel, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv, 6 Urk 11) relies on replication, repetition, and doubling to reinforce the meanings relayed in its text and to enhance its function as a legal document. This talk will argue that the Charter’s remarkable mimetic qualities function as a kind of visual rhetoric that was entirely in tune with the terms of the golden text that stretches across its surface. Such a powerful coalescence between text and image was especially well suited to the visualization and propagation of imperial authority, and it girded expectations of Theophanu’s obedience at the political, social, and physical levels. Framed in terms that name and foreground God-the-Artist’s Creation of humankind as the originary mimetic act, Creation becomes a template for the order of the Ottonian court. The Marriage Charter was thus a call to Theophanu and Otto II to internalize both biblical and Platonic models of Creation in the interest of preserving and perpetuating the Saxon imperial line, which was, at the time of the Charter’s presentation, but ten years young. In explicating the various ways in which the Marriage Charter’s images and text hinge on themes of repetition and replication, this lecture will make a case for the political stakes of mimesis.
Lunch is free for current Middlebury College students/faculty/staff; suggested $5 donation for others; RSVP by 1/10 to email@example.com. Sponsored by the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs.
- Sponsored by:
- Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs