Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art
Paper given by Benjamin Anderson
Delivered at Cornell University on 25 October 2017
In the rapidly changing world of the early Middle Ages, depictions of the cosmos represnted a consistent point of reference across the three dominant states – the Frankish, Byzantine, and Islamic Empires. As these Empires diverged from their Greco-Roman roots, cosmic imagery created a web of visual continuity, though local meanings of these images varied greatly.
Using thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts, Benjamin Anderson shows how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities.