Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4379
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Carrasco , Magdalena Elizabeth
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Imagery of the Magdalen in Christina of Markyate's Psalter (St. Albans Psalter)
  • Source URL: Gesta (Full Text via JSTOR) 38, 1 (1999): 67-80. Link Info target = '_blank'>Gesta (Full Text via JSTOR) 38, 1 (1999): 67-80. Link Info
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Affective Piety Art History- Painting Christina of Markyate, Recluse Devotional Literature Hagiography Iconography Illumination of Manuscripts Images Mary Magdalene, Saint in Art Psalters, Liturgical Books Saint Albans Psalter Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 12
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Manuscript; Hildesheim, Dombibliothek MS St. Godehard 1. Known as the Saint Albans Psalter.
  • Illustrations: Six Figures. Figure One Manuscript illumination, "Christ in the House of Simon" (St. Albans Psalter, p.36). Mary Magdalene kneels and clasps Jesus' feet. Figure Two Manuscript illumination, "Mary Magdalene and the Apostles" (St. Albans Psalter, p.51). Mary Magdalene announces the news of the resurrection. Figure Three Manuscript illumination, "Descent from the Cross" (St. Albans Psalter, p. 47). Figure Four Manuscript illumination, "Christina of Markyate intercedes with Christ on behalf of the monks of St. Albans" (St. Albans Psalter, p. 285). Figure Five Manuscript illumination, "Crucifixion" (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS709 Gospels of Judith of Flanders, fol. Iv). Figure Six Manuscript illumination, "Christ handing the keys to St. Peter and St. Peter receiving souls in heaven" (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D.2.6, fol 169).
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  • Abstract: The St. Albans Psalter, one of the masterpieces of English Romanesque painting, includes in its prefatory cycle two paintings featuring Mary Magdalen: Christ in the house of Simon, with the Magdalen at the feet of Christ, and Mary Magdalen announcing the resurrection to the apostles. The latter is so rare as to be almost unique, while the former is relatively more familiar but still unusual in the context of psalter illustration. These images can be interpreted in relation to the recluse and nun, Christina of Markyate, for whom the Psalter appears to have been made, and in terms of the large body of writing devoted to the Magdalen in this period. As evidenced in contemporary devotional literature, including the prayers of St. Anselm (1033-1109) and the "De institutione inclusarum" of Aelred of Rievaulx (ca.1100-1167), the growth in the cult of the Magdalen was closely linked with a new emphasis on affective piety. In early medieval exegesis, the Magdalen is interpreted allegorically as the type of the church or as the model of the contemplative life; by the later middle ages, she had become an intimately personal moral exemplar and a directly accessible patroness. The Magdalen images in the St. Albans Psalter, and Christina of Markyate herself, exemplify the transformation of the Magdalen into a personal model of the spiritual life. This transformation was itself a part of a larger shift toward a more intimate and emotional spirituality, a shift in which women played a significant role and which transformed traditional assumptions concerning the nature and use of visual images in religious observance. [Reproduced by permission of the International Center of Medieval Art].
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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