It's hard to be enthusiastic about the conception of the theologian as art
critic, or as a a person who directly influences art. There were no medieval
Clement Greenbergs. You might, however, find fruitful ground studying
theologians as patrons of the arts. Although the Renaissance is too late for
your purposes, it would have had a different coloration without the patronage
of Pope Julius II. But then there's the work commissioned by Suger at St.
Denis. And if you study, say, the history of the Sistine Chapel, you'll find
it was decorated in phases, and each phase reflects the tastes and ideas of
the pope of that day.
In a message dated 11/20/00 5:38:57 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
> Thank you very much Jim for succinct reply. You said that "theologians in
> Europe never interested themselves very directly or systematically with
> images, as was very much the case in the Byzantine east"; which I to
> degree agree; however there was a special pattern of development of
> religious art
> in the Middle Ages. Surely some form of learned influence on the content of
> exists. I assume that the form of "popular religion" had more influence.
> Certainly Voragine's Golden Legend played an important part, but I wonder
> are other minor works which equally had influence. I also like to think
> played also important role in influencing the content of religious art. I
> any thoughts or examples.
> G Butrous
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > It may be a simple question !
> > I want to compile a list of theologians who
> > influenced the progress and the shape of the Medieval art, any help?
> > Thanks
> > Ghazwan Butrous
> > Canterbury UK
> >>>You should certainly include Gregory the Great. There have been
> several recent articles in the journal, Word & Image, on his writings
> about art. St Bernard, too, should be included, and although the
> consensus no longer makes of him a theologian, Abbot Suger might be
> included anyway, just because of his writings that survive. Conrad
> Rudolph has written books on both St Bernard and Suger, and in the
> latter, he discusses, as well, Hugh of St Victor, who should also be
> on your list. And although difficult to pinpoint exactly as the
> author of the Libri Carolini, Theodulf of Orleans should probably be
> there, too. To my knowledge, however, theologians in western Europe
> never interested themselves very directly or systematically with art
> and images, as was very much the case in the Byzantine east. That
> probably explains the relative lack of works treating your subject,
> although Etienne Gilson has, I believe, written on it, as, of
> course, has Umberto Eco, and the bibliography in his Art and Beauty
> in the Middle Ages would certainly suggest other theologians you
> might include. There are lots of theologians, such as St Thomas
> Aquinas, who provide lots of material for contemporary gleaners of
> aesthetic theory but who, arguably, did not do a great deal in their
> time to influence or shape the direction of medieval art, and I would
> particularly point out Vincent of Beauvais in this category; whatever
> his role in shaping art, he was made far more of than he deserved by
> Didron, Emile Male, etc., in the 19th century.
> Jim Bugslag>>>>