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Royal Epiphanies. The King's Body as Image and Its Mise-en-scène in the Medieval Mediterranean (centuries 12th-14th)

English title Royal Epiphanies. The King's Body as Image and Its Mise-en-scène in the Medieval Mediterranean (centuries 12th-14th)
Applicant Bacci Michele
Number 173045
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Domaine Histoire de l'art et Archéologie Département des sciences historiques Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Visual arts and Art history
Start/End 01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021
Approved amount 1'059'212.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Visual arts and Art history
General history (without pre-and early history)

Keywords (8)

Medieval History; Medieval Art; Representation of Power; Kingship; Medieval Mediterranean; Royal Portrait; Royal Iconography; King's Body

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La gestion de la visibilité de son propre corps à l’intérieur de la société (sa manifestation publique) est un élément de grande importance pour chaque personne qui détient le pouvoir. Si elle peut parfois s’exprimer sous une forme directe (à travers la participation royale aux cérémonies publiques et aux rituels), il est aussi possible qu’elle se manifeste de manière indirecte, c’est-à-dire par toute une série de représentations symboliques, allégoriques et fictives du souverain. Entre ces dernières, nous pouvons certainement inclure la représentation royale, dans la mesure où elle représente un remplaçant du monarque capable de marquer l’espace, légitimer le pouvoir et jouer le rôle de médiateur entre le souverain et ses sujets afin de consolider l’union avec la couronne. Autrement dit, à travers sa capacité intrinsèque de persuader, convaincre, attraire et coopter de manière indirecte, elle constitue un élément fondamental du pouvoir.
Lay summary

Sujet et objectif

Pendant les dernières années, un débat scientifique animé relatif à la fonction que l’on peut attribuer aux représentations royales dans la société médiévale a pris forme, en mettant en discussion, dans certains cas, des acquisitions historiographiques précédentes, qui étaient désormais considérées en tant qu’indiscutablement acquises. Ce projet vise à revitaliser le débat traditionnel sur le portrait royal et sa fonction dans la société méditerranéenne (royaumes d’Aragon, Naples, Sicile, Chypre, Jérusalem et Cilicie arménienne) pendant le Moyen Âge tardif, en le voyant ainsi sous une lumière nouvelle, à savoir en l’analysant en tant que partie intégrante d’un contexte bien plus ample de mise-en-scène de la part du souverain de son propre corps, c’est-à-dire en accordant une attention majeure à la représentation royale en tant qu’outil de communication dans une stratégie communicative générale et en examinant les différentes interactions et les conditionnements réciproques qui s’activèrent entre la manifestation publique du corps royal et sa représentation iconographique.

 

Contexte socio-scientifique

À travers une approche comparative et par une confrontation, pour ainsi dire, « dynamique » entre les sources visuelles et celles matérielles et textuelles, le projet vise à replacer la production artistique à l’intérieur de la globalité de son contexte de réalisation, de sa fonction et de sa réception. Cela permettra de rejoindre une meilleure compréhension de l’utilisation de l’image royale en tant que moyen d’évocation symbolique du corps du souverain et de ce dernier comme objet iconique dans les sociétés de la Méditerranée au Moyen Âge tardif.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.04.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Two Armenian Manuscripts in Switzerland (with an annotated translation of a newly-found abridgement of the Commentary of Canon Tables attributed to Step‛anos Siwnec‛i)
Grigoryan Savary Gohar (2020), Two Armenian Manuscripts in Switzerland (with an annotated translation of a newly-found abridgement of the Commentary of Canon Tables attributed to Step‛anos Siwnec‛i), in Le Muséon, 133(1/2), 87-139.
Royal Divine Coronation Iconography. Preliminary Considerations
VagnoniMirko (2019), Royal Divine Coronation Iconography. Preliminary Considerations, in Arts, 8(4), 1-11.
Chapter 15. King Gagik Arcruni’s Portrait on the Church of Ałt‛amar
Grigoryan Savary Gohar (2019), Chapter 15. King Gagik Arcruni’s Portrait on the Church of Ałt‛amar, in Pogossian Zaroui (ed.), Brill, Leiden, 416-440.
Si aprì una porta nel Cielo. La Cattedrale di Monreale
VagnoniMirko (2019), Si aprì una porta nel Cielo. La Cattedrale di Monreale, Itaca, Castel Bolognese.
Epifanie del corpo in immagine dei re di Sicilia (1130-1266)
VagnoniMirko (2019), Epifanie del corpo in immagine dei re di Sicilia (1130-1266), Palermo University Press , Palermo.
Politiche di epifania del corpo regio in immagine nel regno normanno di Sicilia (1130-1189)
VagnoniMirko (2019), Politiche di epifania del corpo regio in immagine nel regno normanno di Sicilia (1130-1189), Fondazione Federico II Palermo, Palermo, 50-55.
Meanings and Functions of Norman Royal Portrait in the Religious and Liturgical Context: the Mosaic of the Cathedral of Monreale
VagnoniMirko (2019), Meanings and Functions of Norman Royal Portrait in the Religious and Liturgical Context: the Mosaic of the Cathedral of Monreale, in Iconographica. Studies in the History of Images, 18, 26-37.
Prefazione
VagnoniMirko (2019), Prefazione, in Francione Gennaro (ed.), A&B, Acireale, 11-15.
Raffigurazioni regie nel regno di Sicilia. Tra messaggi politici e sentimenti religiosi
VagnoniMirko (2019), Raffigurazioni regie nel regno di Sicilia. Tra messaggi politici e sentimenti religiosi, in Schola Salernitana. Annali, 24, 81-106.
Royal epiphanies. The king’s body as image and its mise-en-scène in the kingdom of Sicily (1130-1266)
VagnoniMirko (2019), Royal epiphanies. The king’s body as image and its mise-en-scène in the kingdom of Sicily (1130-1266), in Rossi Vairo Giulia (ed.), Instituto de Estudos Medievais, Lisbon, 295-310.
"The Heritage of Ancestors": Early Studies on Armenian Manuscripts and Miniature Painting
Grigoryan SavaryGohar (2018), "The Heritage of Ancestors": Early Studies on Armenian Manuscripts and Miniature Painting, in Venezia Arti, 27, 81-102.
El cuerpo del rey como imagen en el reino de Sicilia (1130-1266)
VagnoniMirko (2018), El cuerpo del rey como imagen en el reino de Sicilia (1130-1266), in Scriptorium, (18), 4-13.
Dei gratia rex Sicilie. Scene d’incoronazione divina nell’iconografia regia normanna
VagnoniMirko (2017), Dei gratia rex Sicilie. Scene d’incoronazione divina nell’iconografia regia normanna, FedOAPress-Federico II University Press , Naples.
Manifestations of Mongol-Armenian Relations in the Royal Art of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia: A study of the depiction of the robe of Prince Lewon in manuscript No. 8321 (Matenadaran, fol. 15r)
Grigoryan SavaryGohar (2017), Manifestations of Mongol-Armenian Relations in the Royal Art of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia: A study of the depiction of the robe of Prince Lewon in manuscript No. 8321 (Matenadaran, fol. 15r), in Chevalier Marie-Anna (ed.), Classiques Garnier, Paris, 251-300.
Chapter 5. On the Interpretation of the Crosses Carved on the External Walls of the Armenian Church in Famagusta
Grigoryan SavaryGohar (2017), Chapter 5. On the Interpretation of the Crosses Carved on the External Walls of the Armenian Church in Famagusta, in Walsh Michael J. K. (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 125-141.
Charles V and the Fury at the Prado Museum: The Power of the King’s Body as Image
VagnoniMirko (2017), Charles V and the Fury at the Prado Museum: The Power of the King’s Body as Image, in Eikón/Imago, (12), 49-66.
Cristo nelle raffigurazioni dei re normanni di Sicilia (1130-1189)
VagnoniMirko (2017), Cristo nelle raffigurazioni dei re normanni di Sicilia (1130-1189), in Paravicini Bagliani Agostino (ed.), SISMEL, Florence, 91-110.
Armenian Colophons on the Takeover of Sis (1375)
Grigoryan SavaryGohar, Armenian Colophons on the Takeover of Sis (1375), in Revue des Études Arméniennes.
Au sujet de l’authenticité des deux feuilles d’un manuscrit «cilicien»
Grigoryan SavaryGohar, Au sujet de l’authenticité des deux feuilles d’un manuscrit «cilicien», in Revue des Études Arméniennes.
Review essay of Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript from Genocide to Justice, 436 pages, ISBN 9780804790444, Stanford University Press, 2019
Grigoryan SavaryGohar, Review essay of Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript from Genocide to Justice, 436 pages, ISBN 9780804790444, Stanford University Press, 2019, in Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies .

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Templa Winter School 2019 Talk given at a conference The King and the Cathedral. Exchanges between Secular and Religious Significances in the Crown of Aragon (1164-1410) 29.11.2019 Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain Fernández Pozzo Sofía;
Presenza-assenza. Meccanismi dell’istituzionalità nella societas Christiana (secc. IX-XIII) Talk given at a conference Il re assente nel Regno di Sicilia. Il ritratto regio (1130-1266) 16.09.2019 Brescia, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
La mort du roi: réalité, littérature, représentation Talk given at a conference The dead body of king Robert of Anjou (1343) 11.09.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Vagnoni Mirko;
The Face in Medieval Culture, East and West. A Micrologus International Conference Talk given at a conference Beards and the Construction of Facial Appearance in the Middle Ages 04.07.2019 Saint Petersburg, Arts Square Gallery, Russia Bacci Michele;
Mondi mediterranei e Italia meridionale nel Medioevo. Teorie e pratiche della sovranità: forme e fonti del potere Talk given at a conference Raffigurazioni regie nel regno di Sicilia. Tra intenti politici e sentimenti religiosi 17.06.2019 Salerno, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
Il convento di San Ludovico tra storia e arte Talk given at a conference L’iconografia di S. Ludovico di Tolosa e la dinastia angioina 30.03.2019 Montevarchi, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
Armenia & Byzantium: Perspectives on Cultural and Political Relations Talk given at a conference With or against Byzantium? Art Historiographical and Methodological Problems in Early Studies on Armenian Miniature Painting 22.03.2019 Oxford University, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Grigoryan Gohar;
Meanings and Functions of the Royal Portrait in the Mediterranean World (11th-15th Centuries) Talk given at a conference The King's Dashing Attire at the turn of the Thirteenth century: Alfonso II and Pedro II of Aragon in the Liber Feudorum Maior and Liber Feudorum Ceritaniae 13.03.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Fernández Pozzo Sofía;
Meanings and Functions of the Royal Portrait in the Mediterranean World (11th-15th Centuries) Talk given at a conference Why depict the king? Medieval Armenian reflections on royal images 12.03.2019 Fribourg University, Switzerland Bacci Michele; Grigoryan Gohar; Fernández Pozzo Sofía; Vagnoni Mirko;
Meaning and functions of the royal portrait in the Mediterranean world (11th-15th centuries) Talk given at a conference Royal epiphanies in the kingdom of Sicily (1130-1337) 12.03.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Vagnoni Mirko;
Meanings and functions of the Royal Portrait in the Mediterranean World (11th-15th Centuries) Talk given at a conference The King's Dashing Attire at the Turn of the Thirteenth Century: Alfonso II and Pedro II of Aragon in the Liber Feudorum Maior and Liber Feudorum Ceritaniae 11.03.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Fernández Pozzo Sofía;
The Armenian Art: Critical History and New Perspectives Talk given at a conference Method and Manuscript 21.02.2019 Venice, Ca’ Foscari University, Italy Grigoryan Gohar;
Lecture at the University of Enna Individual talk Politiche di ritrattistica regia nel regno di Sicilia (1130-1337) 17.12.2018 Enna, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
Invited lecture, Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Individual talk Mongol Epiphanies in the Late Medieval Mediterranean World: An Art Historical Perspective 06.12.2018 Jerusalem, Hebrew University, Israel Grigoryan Gohar;
Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance Talk given at a conference Epiphanies of the king’s body as image in the kingdom of Sicily (1130-1266) 03.12.2018 Florence, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
Towards a new Political History of the Court, c. 1200-1800. Delineating practices of power in gender, culture, and sociability Talk given at a conference The mise-en-scène of the king’s body at the Angevin and Aragonese courts of Naples and Palermo (1266-1343) 14.11.2018 Paris, France Vagnoni Mirko;
Nouvelles recherches sur l'Arménie ancienne Talk given at a conference Royal Epiphanies: The King's Body as Image and Its Mise-en-scène in the Medieval Mediterranean 08.06.2018 University of Geneva, Switzerland Grigoryan Gohar;
Lecture at the University of Siena Individual talk La messa in scena della ricchezza regia nella Sicilia normanna 07.06.2018 Siena, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
MA and PHd day Presentations in Medieval History of Art Individual talk Royal Epiphanies: Physical traits and other elements of kingly distinction in Medieval Aragon (1164-1410) 23.05.2018 Université de Fribourg, Switzerland Fernández Pozzo Sofía;
Kolloquium zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte Individual talk Royal Images of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1198-1375) in the Context of Mediterranean Intercultural Exchange 23.05.2018 Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Germany Grigoryan Gohar;
Giornate di Studi in occasione del 750° anniversario della Dedicazione della Basilica-Cattedrale di Monreale Talk given at a conference Guglielmo II e i suoi mosaici: tra intenti politici e sentimenti religiosi 14.04.2018 Monreale, Italy Vagnoni Mirko;
Medieval Royal Imagery: Politics or Religion? Talk given at a conference Royal Epiphanies Project. Introduction 12.03.2018 Fribourg, Switzerland Vagnoni Mirko;
Medieval Iconography Proseminar Individual talk Mapas Medievales: La plasmación gráfica del tiempo, el espacio y el conocimiento 13.02.2018 Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain Fernández Pozzo Sofía;
El poder del la imagen en el Museo del Prado Talk given at a conference Charles V and the Fury at the Prado Museum: The Power of the King’s Body as Image 12.12.2017 Madrid, Spain Vagnoni Mirko;
Souls of Stone. Funerary Sculpture: from Creation to Musealization Talk given at a conference Royal Epiphanies. The King’s Body as Image and Its Mise-en-scène in the Medieval Mediterranean (12th-14th centuries) 02.11.2017 Lisbon, Portugal Vagnoni Mirko;
The Normans in the South: Mediterranean Meetings in the Central Middle Ages Talk given at a conference Meanings and functions of Norman royal portraits in the religious and liturgical context 30.06.2017 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Vagnoni Mirko;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Meanings and Functions of the Royal Portrait (11th-15th centuries) 12.03.2019 University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Si aprì una porta nel Cielo. La Cattedrale di Monreale Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 18.08.2019 Rimini, Italy Bacci Michele; Vagnoni Mirko;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Au sujet de l’authenticité des deux feuilles d’un manuscrit «cilicien» Online media/journal "Nor Haratch" (Paris) International 2019
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Codex Aquilarensis, nº35 (2019) International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Վերջերս շրջանառվող «կիլիկյան» երկթերթ պատառիկի վավերականության շուրջ (in Armenian) Online media - "Arteria: Critical and cultural review" (Yerevan) International 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
167006 The Spectacle of the Flesh. Iconic Living Bodies in Late Antiquity and Beyond 01.05.2016 Scientific Conferences

Abstract

If sociology has highlighted how the leader’s body performs a fundamental stabilizing function within the complex political and social order characteristic of the relationship between the group and its head, making the very formation of the group somehow possible, it is easy to understand how for the holder of power managing the visibility of his body within society (its public manifestation) is an element of utmost importance. While at times it may be expressed in a direct form (through real participation in public ceremonies and rituals), at others it can be manifested in an indirect way: namely through a series of symbolic, allegorical and fictitious depictions of the ruler. Royal bodily representation can fit among these perfectly since, from the viewpoint of historical, historical-artistic, anthropological and semiotic investigation, it represents a substitute for the monarch which can mark out space, legitimize power and mediate between sovereign and subjects in order to consolidate the union under the crown. In other words, owing to its intrinsic capacity to indirectly persuade, convince, attract and co-opt, this representation constitutes a fundamental element of power.An animated scientific debate has been sparked in recent years (especially in the German sphere and in terms of historiographical research) in connection with the function that can be attributed to representation of the king within medieval society, in some cases calling into question what had previously been deemed to be indisputably written into the historiography. The project ‘Royal Epiphanies. The King’s Body as Image and Its Mise-en-scène in the Medieval Mediterranean (12th-14th centuries)’ sets out to revive the traditional debate on royal portraiture and its function within Mediterranean society during the mid and late Middle Ages by examining it from an absolutely innovative point of view, namely by analysing it as an integral part of a much wider context of the sovereign’s mise-en-scène of his body. In other words, the aim is to place greater attention on royal bodily representation as a means of communication within a general communication strategy and to study how the public rendering of the royal body and its iconographic representation interact and condition each other.By concentrating on the specific contexts of six kingdoms which cover the whole Mediterranean area from west to east (Aragon, Naples, Sicily, Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenian Cilicia), the objective is to answer the following questions in particular: how much and how did the king show himself to his subjects? In what forms? Where? When? To whom? For what ends and for what reasons? How much was his image influenced and, in turn, did it influence the way in which the sovereign presented himself to the public? For the Middle Ages, can we speak of the artistic image as a surrogate of the king’s body able to mediate his presence? Did it have a more juridical, eulogistic/celebrative, political/propagandistic or religious/devotional function?Through a typically comparative approach and by making a so-to-speak dynamic comparison between the visual and the material and textual sources, the project sets out to connect the artistic product with the overall context of its creation, function and reception. All of this will enable a better understanding of how the royal image was used as a means of symbolically presenting the sovereign’s bodily figure within society, and ascertain how he could have potentially used his iconographic representation as a political tool and means of power. Hence, in these terms, there is no doubt as to the utility and necessity of this type of study by art historians.
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