Reading list - I haven't taught the business of reliquaries per se to my
students, so haven't compiled a reading list. Further, the interpretive
study of reliquaries, and the study of reliquaries as a historical
phenomenon, is often very flawed. The only thing you can do is go reliquary
by reliquary, looking closely at the objects themselves, look critically at
the literature on their dates (horribly flawed!) and provenances, and
consider primary sources documenting the existence and uses of reliquaries.
Nicole Herrmann-Mascard, Les Reliques des Saints, formation coutoumiere d'un
droit, Paris, 1975, is one of the best such sources I've found. She shows
from primary sources relics going on tour, being sworn on, performing
miracles and such.
Also, Ulysse Chevalier, Ordinaire de l'eglise cathedrale de Vienne, Paris,
1923, gives a wonderfully complete picture of the cathedral's use of all its
relics throughout the liturgical year in 1251.
I'm afraid my computer ate my monstrous bib and I haven't finished
disentangling the mangled remains - but these two were particularly vivid
accounts. In any case, you won't find a good reliable summary of relics, if
that's what you're looking for.
Pippin Michelli, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Art History, St Olaf College
From: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Saturday, August 28, 1999 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: Body Parts
>Many thanks for the detailed comments on reliquaries - do you have
>a reading list on this subject, by any chance?
>With regard to impassivity, an interesting aside is provided by the
>life of Anthony where, if I remember correctly, we are told that
>after spending decades out in the desert living on dried bread
>and water (and fighting demons on a regular basis) Anthony
>emerged looking like a handsome young man of 30 or so - something
>I do not recall ever being reflected in depictions of him!
>> Well, I'd be interested to know if this is a religious attribute of
>> saintliness. I think, myself, that it is an artistic one, going back
>> ultimately to the idea of Idealisation - which requires an expressionless
>> face at all times (to avoid the uglifying distortion that necessarily
>> from expressions) and absolute self-control in all circumstances. Hence,
>> note, Christ on the cross in the contrapposto stance. Was Agatha in the
>> contrapposto in your image? Nudity, or near nudity is also an essential
>> part of the depiction of Idealisation, which would suit both Agatha and
>> I codified the artistic Idealisation, its meaning and context for my
>> students. You can find it on my web page if you click on "Course
>> Materials", "past courses", Spring 1999 Art 151, "terms and concepts" -
>> scroll down a little to find Classical Beauty and Idealisation (to be
>> updated and transferred to top page soon). We have to beware of seeing
>> these images as pure illustration. They are also commentaries, with
>> own detailed language.
>> Pippin Michelli, Ph.D
>> Assistant Professor of Art History, St Olaf College
>Margaret Cormack [log in to unmask]
>Dept. of Philosophy and Religion fax: 843-953-6388
>College of Charleston tel: 843-953-8033
>Charleston, SC 29424-0001