Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 16298
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Pentcheva , Bissera V.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Rhetorical Images of the Virgin: The Icon of the "Usual Miracle" at the Blachernai [The author connects the icon of Mary at the Blachernai (which was revealed every Friday by the miraculous raising of a silk cover) with a new image-type in which Mary raises her hands in prayer and has a medallion that contains the Christ child hovering on her chest. The author argues that this image was influenced by Neoplatonic ideas to represent both the presence of the Holy Spirit and the embodiment of the incarnation. The author also connects the new image type to the Komnenoi dynasty which had various political reasons to champion orthodoxy. In the Appendix the author surveys publications on seals to identify instances of the orans Virgin with the hovering medallion. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 38, ( 2000): Pages 34 - 55.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Alexios I Komnenos, Byzantine Emperor Art History- Decorative Arts Byzantium Iconography Icons Incarnation, Doctrine Mary, Virgin, Saint as Blachernitissa (Of the Blachernai (One of the most Prominent Marian Churches in Constantinople)) Mary, Virgin, Saint
  • Geographic Area: Eastern Mediterranean
  • Century: 11
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  • Illustrations: Nineteen illustrations. Figure One Close up of a gold coin. Obverse side: the orans Virgin with the hovering medallion, 1042 C.E., diameter 2.5 cm. (Washington D.C., Dumbarton Oaks, Byzantine Collection). Figure Two Gold Coin in Figure One including the reverse side: the empresses Zoe and Theodora. Figure Three Silver coin of Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1055). Obverse Side: the orans Virgin, Reverse Side: Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos with a scepter and a sword, diameter 2.5 cm. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Art Mueseums, Whittemore Collection). Figure Four Lead Seal of the "Caesar" John. Obverse side: The Virgin holding a medallion containing Christ in her hands, second half of the eleventh century, diam 3.5 cm. (Washinton, D.C., Dumbarton Oaks, Byzantine collection). Figure Five lead seal of Anna Doukaina. Obverse side: The orans Virgin with a medallion containing Christ on her chest, late eleventh to early twelfth centuries, diam. 3 cm. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Art Museums). Figure Six Lead seal blank, diam 2.5 cm. (Washinton D.C., Dumbarton Oaks, Byzantine Collection). Figure Seven Iron pliers, showing the relief with the image inside, formerly in the private collection of George Zacos. Figure Eight Iron Pliers, showing the relief with the inscription inside, formerly in the private collection of George Zacos. Figure Nine Silver coin of Basil II (976-1025) from the end of his rule. Obverse side: The Virgin holding a medallion containing Christ in her hands, diam. 3 cm. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Art Museums, Whittemore Collection). Figure Ten Lead seal of Anna Dalassena, 1967-1081. Obverse side: The orans Virgin with the hovering medallion on a lead seal, diam 2.5 cm. (Washington, D.C., Dumbarton Oaks, Shaw Colection). Figure Eleven Copper coin of Empress Zoe (1041). Obverse side: Christ "Antiphonites," Reverse side: A bust of Empress Zoe with a scepter and a "globus cruciger" (a sphere surmounted by a cross), diam. 2.6 cm. (Istanbul, Istanbul Archaeological Museum). Figure Twelve Mosaic Icon of Christ "Antiphonites," 1065 C.E., 125 x 45 cm. (Nikaia, Turkey, Church of the Koimesis). Figure Thirteen Painted icon of the Annunciation, twelfth century, 61 x 42.2 cm. (Mt. Sinai, Egypt, Monastery of St. Catherine's). Figure Fourteen Painted icon of the Annunciation from Mt. Sinai- Detail of the Virgin spinning with the infant depicted on her chest in grisaille. Figure Fifteen Painted icon of the Annunciation from Novgorod, twelfth century, 238 x 168 cm. (Moscow, Russia, Tretjakov Gallery). Figure Sixteen Manuscript illumination shows a family venerating the icon of the Virgin Hodegetria. A silken veil, used to cover the image, is now lifted and collected at the top of the panel, Hamilton Psalter, 27 x 22 cm. (Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preu├čischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Sammlung der Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik). Figure Seventeen Silver Coin of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) from the pre-reform period (1081-1092). Obverse side: The orans Virgin with the hovering medallion, Reverse Side: A bust of the emperor with a scepter and a "globus cruciger" (a sphere surmounted by a cross), diam. 1.7 cm. (Washington D. C, Dumbarton Oaks, Byzantine Collection). Figure Eighteen The orans Virgin with the hovering medallion on the tympanum of the narthex door at the church of the Virgin in Asinou. The image dates to 1333, but it is a copy of an original early twelfth-century image. Figure Nineteen The orans Virgin with the hovering medallion in the apse of the church of the Theotokos at Trikomo, Cyprus, twelfth century.
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  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 02771322
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