some further issues to consider (aside from the definitions of heresy
1) The use of satire. There are plenty of examples from gothic
margins of animals representing priests, bishops and popes. Clearly this
have either been tolerated or unnoticed - you'd have to look at the
manuscripts in question, consider their illuminator, their subject
their accessibility to various audiences based on the content.
2) The exploration of non-Christian philosophies. Alchemy was probably
introduced into the West from Islamic sources in the 12th century. The
hotbed for this trans-cultural activity was Spain and a multitude of
were translated into Latin. The figureheads of high medieval western
are mostly drawn from the ranks of the clergy and it may be erroneous to
their iconographic metaphors as 'heretical'. However, if you take
Arnold of Villanova who was accused of heresy a few times, and did
criticise the institution, then to what extent would his equation of the
Christ with the alchemical process have been treated as such? Of course
of alchemy, astrology and astronomy were blurred and there is plenty of
evidence (and to some extent iconographic) of ideas branded heretical by
the Church - of course, this is where you have to consider 'intention'.
the authors/translators/illuminators 'intend' to attack the institution
or did they
consider themselves part of the institution?
3) The iconographic primacy of a saint or an aspect of the Trinity over
unified Trinity. For example, no one seems to know why the Black Madonna
an important and dominating figure in countries such as Poland. This is
not a heretical depiction but it indicates the fragmentary and localised
nature of Christian iconography,
This is all very piecemeal - the problem is that no one has really
iconographic variety as either heretical or resonating paganism and
the results into a meaningful survey.
> I'm sure there will be more definitive answers to this (Otfried?),
> but one image that apparently came under official censure in Europe
> was a figure of the Trinity with three faces on the same head. I'm
> afraid I don't know where or when this was censured, but as odd an
> image as it seems, there are still examples into the 17th century.
> Also, St Antoninus of Florence in the 15th century censured images of
> the Annunciation which depicted a "homunculus" zooming down towards
> the Virgin on a beam of light, since it suggested that Christ's human
> nature preceded his incarnation in Mary. The Reformation is the real
> place to look for censuring of imagery, though. Luther was against
> anything non-biblical, both in general subject matter and in the way
> that biblical scenes were depicted, and he certainly wasn't alone in
> this. The plentiful images of donors depicted in the same space as
> biblical scenes die out almost completely through the 16th century.
> Jim Bugslag