Special Issue "Encounters in Medieval Wall Painting between the West and Byzantium: Appropriation, Exchange, and Mutual Perceptions"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Visual Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Manuel Castiñeiras
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Art and Musicology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: visual arts from antiquity to c. 1500; medieval artist; Byzantine art; Romanesque art; artistic transfer and mobility; patronage; pilgrimage; Mediterranean studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few decades, the medieval Mediterranean has been the focus of a number of wide-ranging historical studies that emphasize its status as a privileged space for political, cultural, artistic, and commercial exchange between West and East. For art historians, this has opened up the possibility of looking beyond long-established artistic categories from the Early to Late Middle Ages, especially with regard to the relationship between Byzantium and the West. This has allowed them to test the boundaries of well-settled narratives of art in modern nation-states.

The immediate objects of our study are a series of wall paintings that derive from a very specific cultural and artistic encounter between the West and Byzantium from the 6th to 15th centuries. In every case, the precise nature of this agency and the different levels at which interchange operated should be defined. Sometimes, this entails the appropriation of a specific style or an iconographic topic for a use in a different context. The goal of this appropriation can take many forms, such as prestige, the fascination for the other or even the assumption of new identities. At other times, it is about the creation of pictorial hybrids to promote cultural fusion between Latins and Greeks. In most of these examples, either patrons or artists had to experience a process of shifting identities, in which the individual replicates in himself behaviors, tastes or skills of another (alien to his culture) in order to identify himself with the other.

Wall painting is a privilege field to explore these cross-cultural and artistic encounters between the West and Byzantium. Two periods seem to be especially permeable to this phenomenon: The Early-Byzantine period, in which Byzantium reached its highest expansion in the Western Mediterranean, and the last centuries of the Middle Ages, in which, conversely, the Latins occupied extensive portions of the Eastern Mediterranean, either with the Crusades or with the establishment of Latin states in Greece.

To propose a paper for publication, please send a title and short abstract to the Guest Editor, Manuel Castiñeiras, on [email protected], with copy to [email protected] by 5 February 2019. Full manuscripts of up to max 15,000 words in length should be submitted by 21 June 2019.

Dr. Manuel Castiñeiras
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medieval wall painting
  • Byzantine art
  • cross-cultural studies
  • patronage
  • medieval artist
  • artistic hybridization

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Saint George in the Eastern Mediterranean under the Latinokratia (13th–14th Centuries) and His Mythification in the Crown of Aragon
Arts 2020, 9(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030095 - 04 Sep 2020
Abstract
The cult of St George in the Eastern Mediterranean is one of the most extraordinary examples of cohabitation among different religious communities. For a long time, Greek Orthodox, Latins, and Muslims shared shrines dedicated to the Cappadocian warrior in very different places. This [...] Read more.
The cult of St George in the Eastern Mediterranean is one of the most extraordinary examples of cohabitation among different religious communities. For a long time, Greek Orthodox, Latins, and Muslims shared shrines dedicated to the Cappadocian warrior in very different places. This phenomenon touches on two aspects of the cult—the intercultural and the transcultural—that should be considered separately. My paper mainly focuses on the cross-cultural value of the cult and the iconography of St George in continental and insular Greece during the Latinokratia (13th–14th centuries). In this area, we face the same phenomenon with similar contradictions to those found in Turkey or Palestine, where George was shared by different communities, but could also serve to strengthen the identity of a particular ethnic group. Venetians, Franks, Genoese, Catalans, and Greeks (Ῥωμαῖοι) sought the protection of St George, and in this process, they tried to physically or figuratively appropriate his image. However, in order to gain a better understanding of the peculiar situation in Frankish-Palaiologian Greece, it is necessary first to analyze the use of images of St George by the Palaiologian dynasty (1261–1453). Later, we will consider this in relation to the cult and the depiction of the saint on a series of artworks and monuments in Frankish and Catalan Greece. The latter enables us to more precisely interrogate the significance of the former cult of St George in the Crown of Aragon and assess the consequences of the rulership of Greece for the flourishing of his iconography in Late Gothic art. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Greek Painters for the Dominicans or Trecento at the Bosphorus? Once again about the Style and Iconography of the Wall Paintings in the Former Dominican Church of St. Paul in Pera
Arts 2019, 8(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040131 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
The recently discovered wall paintings of the Dominican church of St. Paul are perhaps the most fascinating part of the artistic heritage of Pera, the former Genoese colony at the Bosphorus. According to the researchers analyzing the fragments discovered in 1999–2007, they follow [...] Read more.
The recently discovered wall paintings of the Dominican church of St. Paul are perhaps the most fascinating part of the artistic heritage of Pera, the former Genoese colony at the Bosphorus. According to the researchers analyzing the fragments discovered in 1999–2007, they follow Byzantine iconographic tradition and were executed by Greek painters representing Paleologan style close to the decoration of the Chora church. After extensive discoveries in 2012 it was made possible to describe many more fragments of fresco and mosaic decoration and to make a preliminary identification of its iconography, which appeared to be very varied in character. Many features are typical of Latin art, not known in Byzantine tradition, some even have a clearly polemical, anti-Greek character. The analysis of its iconography, on a broad background of the Byzantine paintings in Latin churches, does not answer the question if it existed and what could be the goal of creating such paintings. There is a high probability that we are dealing with choice dictated by aesthetic and pragmatic factors, like the availability of the appropriate workshop. So, the newly discovered frescoes do not fundamentally alter the earlier conclusions that we are dealing with the work of a Greek workshop, perhaps primarily operating in Pera, which had to adapt to the requirements of Latin clients. It only seems that they should be dated a little later than previously assumed (around the mid-14th century). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Singing to Emmanuel: The Wall Paintings of Sant Miquel in Terrassa and the 6th Century Artistic Reception of Byzantium in the Western Mediterranean
Arts 2019, 8(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040128 - 29 Sep 2019
Abstract
Since the late 19th century the wall paintings of Sant Miquel in Terrassa have drawn attention due to their singularity. From the early studies of Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867–1956) to the present, both the iconographic program and the chronology of the paintings [...] Read more.
Since the late 19th century the wall paintings of Sant Miquel in Terrassa have drawn attention due to their singularity. From the early studies of Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867–1956) to the present, both the iconographic program and the chronology of the paintings have fueled controversy among scholars. In particular, chronological estimates range from the time of Early Christian Art to the Carolingian period. However, a recent technical study of the paintings seems to confirm an early date around the 6th century. This new data allows us to reassess the question in other terms and explore a new possible context for the paintings. First, it is very likely that the choice of iconographic topics was related to the debates on the Arian heresy that took place in Visigothic Spain during the 5th and 6th centuries. Secondly, the paintings of Sant Miquel should be reconsidered as a possible reception of a larger 6th-century pictorial tradition linked to the Eastern Mediterranean, which is used in a very particular way. However, thus far we ignore which were the means for this artistic transmission as well as the reasons which led the “doers” of Terrassa to select such a peculiar and unique repertoire of topics, motifs, and inscriptions. My paper addresses all these questions in order to propose a new Mediterranean framework for the making of this singular set of paintings. Full article
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