The Face of the Dead and the Early Christian World

Edited by Ivan Foletti with the collaboration of Alžběta Filipová
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pp. 192, 81 ill. b/n, 17x24 cm, bross.
ISBN: 9788883349942
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Peter Brown has described the position of holy bodies in the Early Christian period as a «place between Earth and Heaven.» The principal aim of this book is to deal with precisely this intersection between two worlds expressed by the Dead, and in particular by their images and their faces.

The first part of this book looks into the portrait and its function, and the reason for which Late Antiquity, following a custom it inherited from previous eras, covered itself with individual images of the deceased. As in previous eras, the portrait appears, above all, to be an attempt to express the individual in his or her entirety; the techniques and «instruments» perfected in the course of the the 3rd century, however, lead to divergent formal and conceptual results.

The second question, answered more briefly, deals with the perception and representation of the dead body as a whole, defined by David Le Breton as «la souche identitaire de l’homme.» The question asked is a fundamental one, since we are confronted with humanity itself after its passage to that which lies beyond: does the body become just a memory or does it preserve the real presence of the person who once existed?

  • Ivan Foletti, Introduction (p. 7-9)
  • List of abbreviations (p. 10)
  • Nicolas Bock, Making a Silent Painting Speak: Paulinus of Nola, Poetic Competition, and Early Christian Portraiture (p. 11-28)
  • Claudia Corneli, Studies on the Painting of Rome’s Christian Catacombs. On the Trail of a Portrait Included in the Wall of the Arcosolium (p. 29-41)
  • Chiara Croci, Portraiture on Early Christian Gold-Glass: Some Observations (p. 43-59)
  • Ivan Foletti, Physiognomic Representations as a Rhetorical Instrument: “Portraits” in San Vittore in Ciel d’Oro, the Galla Placidia “Mausoleum” and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (p. 61-83)
  • Stefano D’Ovidio, Devotion and Memory: Episcopal Portraits in the Catacombs of San Gennaro in Naples (p. 85-106)
  • Valentina Cantone, The Syncretic Portrait. Visual Contaminations in Early Christian Art (p. 107-122)
  • Philippe Mudry, Beloved Faces. Prohibited Bodies. The Obstacles to Anatomical Investigation in Antiquity (p. 123-132)
  • Jutta Dresken-Weiland, A New Iconography in the Face of Death? A Sarcophagus Fragment with a Possible Crucifixion Scene in the Museo Pio Cristiano (p. 133-148)
  • Manuela Studer-Karlen, The Depiction of the Dead in Early Christian Art (Third to Sixth Century) (p. 149-160)
  • Ladislav Kesner, Face and Dead in Early China (p. 161-182)
  • Index of names (p. 183-188)
  • Index of places (p. 189-190)
  • Biographies (p. 191-192)

Studia Artium Medievalium Brunensia, 1

Proceedings of the international conferences, Masaryk University, Brno, 18th Ocrober 2012.

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