Made under the reign of Charlemagne, in the last decades of the 8th c., the Godescalc Evangelistary (Paris, BnF NAL 1203) and the Gellone Sacramentary (Paris, BnF latin 12048) are prototypes and occupy as such a pivotal position in art history as well as in the genealogy of illuminated Gospels and sacramentaries. Their iconographic program offers a dramatically innovative way to put forth the meaning of the sacred texts, by characterizing their theological or sacramental substance through an iconic semantics based on form, mathematics, and color. Using facsimile as well as digital resources, we will propose during this seminar to study both manuscripts in an interdisciplinary way, with a particular focus on the semantics of the images and on the manner in which they interact with the text. We will also set the making of such manuscripts within the broader historical context of the first generation of churchmen to which Charles the Great entrusted the liturgical reform.
Isabelle Marchesin is Head of the Medieval Department of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris, where she is leading a research program about Ontology of Medieval Christianity in Images (OMCI). She is currently visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has studied both art history at the Ecole du Louvre and historical anthropology at the EHESS, and she has been teaching for several years at the University of Poitiers. She has led the program Musiconis (CNRS), and has curated the exhibition “Moyen Âge entre ordre et désordre” at the Cité de la Musique, in Paris (2004). Her research focuses on Early Medieval images, on visual semiotics, and on the links between art and epistemology. Besides her many studies on Carolingian manuscripts, she is the author of a book about musical iconography (L’image organum. La représentation de la musique dans les psautiers médiévaux, 800-1200, Brepols, 2001), and a book about the bronze door of Hildesheim (L’arbre et la colonne, Picard, 2017).
Charlotte Denoël is archivist paleograph and chief curator at the Department of Manuscripts of the Bibliothèque nationale de France where she is in charge of the medieval service. She is currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Her research on the manuscripts focuses on the Early Middle Ages and addresses images in a transdisciplinary perspective. Manuscripts and their decoration are analyzed through the prism of the cultural history, history of art, and iconography. Among her current projects are a survey of manuscripts illuminated in France during the 10th and 11th centuries (Harvey Miller) and a collective book about the links between medieval art and contemporary art (Macula).