On the Iconic Illuminations of a Byzantine Psalter (Dionysiou 65)

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Other Title
  • ビザンティン詩篇写本(ディオニシウ六五番)の挿絵について
  • ビザンティン詩篇写本(ディオニシウ六五番)の挿絵について : 聖母予型とパトロンの救済
  • ビザンティン シヘン シャホン(ディオニシウ ロクゴバン)ノ サシエ ニ ツイテ : セイボ ヨガタ ト パトロン ノ キュウサイ
  • Prefiguration of the Virgin and the Patron’s Salvation
  • 聖母予型とパトロンの救済

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Abstract

Byzantine illuminated psalters with full-page illuminations for specific psalms (notably Ps. 1, 50, 77, 151) and for the Odes are called as ‘Aristocratic psalters’. The term derives from a mere impression that these psalters were commissioned by Byzantine aristocrats, though in reality 4 manuscripts out of 6 which we know the name of its patron were ordered by monks and nuns. The manuscript Dionysiou 65 housed by the monastery of the same name in Mount Athos is of special interest amongst these 6 manuscripts, with a illumination depicting its patron, Sabas, as the deceased. Including this image, the manuscript has at its beginning a unique iconographical programme which could be labeled as ‘Sabas’s Salvation Cycle’, consisting of 7 full-page illuminations. The 3 illuminations, ‘Sabas worshipping the Virgin (f. 12v)’, ‘Solomon (f. 13r)’ and ‘David (f. 13v)’ wrap up this cycle. The whole illuminations of the manuscript have not been fully studied, yet previous research on these 3 illuminations are particularly scarce probably due to their iconic nature, compared to the other illuminations with more narrative elements. This paper discusses the function of these 3 illuminations as prefigurating the Virgin and praying for the patron’s salvation.

Journal

  • Aesthetics

    Aesthetics 70 (2), 37-48, 2019

    The Japanese Society for Aesthetics

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