Title

The Role of Light-Shadow Hierophanies in Early Medieval Art

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2014

Publication Source

The Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy

Publisher

Springer

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

In the early Middle Ages, solar observance shaped the art and architecture of Christian churches in primarily three ways. First, medieval writers from across the Mediterranean often related dramatic lighting effects to alignment with the rising sun on astronomically and liturgically significant days. Second, in still-surviving pictorial compositions, light coming in through strategically placed windows aligned with the east–west axis stands in for Christ in a variety of recognizable compositions. Third, archaeoastronomers have hypothesized that select medieval pictorial programs were coordinated with fenestration to spotlight-specific scenes and figures on specific days and at specific hours.

Disciplines

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture | Art and Design | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Medieval Studies

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