International Medieval Research 8

Decorations for the Holy Dead: Visual Embellishment on Tombs and Shrines of SaintsFront cover, IMR 8 - Click to enlarge
Edited by Stephen Lamia and Elizabeth Valdez del Álamo

Devotion to saints, their cult, and memory was enormously popular in medieval Europe. Factual evidence in the form of tombs, shrines, reliquaries, pilgrimages, vitae and souvenirs is legion and attests to the all-pervasive nature of the phenomenon. Despite the massive bibliography on hagiography, few if any books are devoted entirely to the study of saints' burial places. The purpose of the papers gathered there, based on presentations sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Aer at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds (1999), plus additional papers commissioned by the editors, is to examine the interaction between the visual arts at specific loci sancti and saints' cults and, further, to enquire whether a corpus of more unusual motifs appeared at saintly sites, beyond the more predictable narrative, symbolic, and iconic representations of saints. The papers address the active role saints' tombs and their embellishments assumed within the fabric of medieval society: rituals enacted at saints' burial places, altarpieces, reliquaries, cloister as shrine, the aura of the venerable past, secular burial near saints' tombs, and political and feminist elements in devotional practice. Monuments from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Hungary, and England are examined and the volume incorporates 104 illustrations.

Articles in this volume include:

  • Prolegomenon: Enjoying the Saints in Late Antiquity, by Peter Brown
  • Imagery and Interactivity: Ritual Transaction at the Saint's Tomb, by Rocío Sánchez Ameijeiras
  • The Cross and the Crown, the Tomb and the Shrine: Decoration and Accommodation for England's Premier Saints, by Stephen Lamia
  • A Shrine in its Setting: San Vicente de Ávila, by Daniel Rico Camps
  • Caput sancti regis Ladislai: The Reliquary Bust of Saint Ladislas and Holy Kingship in Late Medieval Hungary, by Scott B. Montgomery & Alice A. Bauer
  • The Bishop-Saints of Galicia and León, their Cults, and Material Remains (Ninth to Eleventh Centuries), by Eduardo Carrero Santamaría
  • The Saint's Capital, Talisman in the Cloister, by Elizabeth Valdez del Álamo
  • A Reliquary Capital at Moissac: Litugy and Ceremonial Thinking in the Cloister, by Leah Rutchick
  • Cloister as Shrine to a Patron Saint: Perpetuating the Memory of Saint Pontius at Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, by Leslie Bussis Tait
  • The Representation of Physician Saints in the Katholikon of the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, Phokis, by Nadezhda Guerassimenko
  • The Vanni Altarpiece and the Relic Cult of Saint Margaret: Consdiering a Female Audience, by Leanne Gilbertson
  • The Sepulchre of Saint Juliana in the Collegiate Church of Santillana del Mar, by Francesca Español
  • Civic Promoters of Celestial Protectors: The Arca di San Donato at Arezzo and the Crisis of the Saint's Tomb around 1400, by Ulrich Pfisterer