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Durham e-Theses
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Painting the Apocalypse in Medieval Iberia: the Creation and Use of the Beatus IIa

DIAS, ANA,PATRICIA,CORDEIRO,DE (2019) Painting the Apocalypse in Medieval Iberia: the Creation and Use of the Beatus IIa. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 07 March 2022.

Abstract

The present study explores the production, illumination and reception of Beatus of Liébana’s Commentarium in Apocalypsin – one of the most celebrated works of early medieval Iberia – within the wider panorama of illustrated Apocalypses from the early and high Middle Ages. It examines in detail the sub-group of Beatus manuscripts known as family IIa, comprising the Morgan, Valladolid, Urgell, Facundus and Silos examples, which, collectively, constitute the most cohesive and iconographically rich group in the whole Beatus corpus.
This thesis addresses the complex questions of how the Beatus illuminations were conceptualised both by their artists and users and, ultimately, what the role of the Beatus as an illustrated text was. Through a systematic analysis of the mechanisms through which the textual was translated into the visual – with particular attention placed on scribal and artistic responses to colour and number in Revelation – this investigation aims to demonstrate that the Beatus visual imagery was not simply a literal illustration of the text it accompanies, but that it performs a role akin to the written medium, inviting and sustaining scriptural exegesis and supporting meditation on (and preparation for) the ‘last things’. In addition, it examines scribal and artistic working methods and agency, arguing that a degree of freedom in relation to the sacred texts was permissible, and that fidelity to Scripture depended on the individuals and on their proficiency.
In considering the results of this investigation in a broader context, and by comparing them to the evidence provided by the Carolingian and Ottonian Apocalypses, this thesis also determines that the Beatus IIa present the most comprehensive and detailed corpus of Apocalypse images of the early Middle Ages, and that the Beatus manuscripts may have fulfilled various roles over the five centuries of their transmission.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:manuscripts studies; visual culture; early medieval history; Iberian history
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Mar 2019 10:40

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