"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hail the Day that Sees Her Rise!

The Dormition is a lovely festival worthy of celebration for its own sake, but for those of us who are unapologetic carnivores yearning to get back to grilling some of God's tastier creatures, it also marks the end of a short fasting period to which we shall not bid farewell with much grief or difficulty. As we keep vigil tonight and then celebrate the feast tomorrow, we will be able more fully to follow the advice of the letter to the Hebrews (13:15) and keep our barbeques making sweet sacrifices of praise until mid-November.

In between those steaks and sausages, burgers and chops, ribs and brisket and much else, you might pause to consider some recent studies on the Dormition/Assumption, to which I have drawn attention over the years, including here and here.

Another Mariological and iconological study was released at the end of July: Jaroslav Folda, Byzantine Art and Italian Panel Painting: The Virgin and Child Hodegetria and the Art of Chrysography (Cambridge UP, 2015), 424pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
The Virgin and Child Hodegetria was a widely venerated Byzantine image depicting the Virgin holding and pointing to her son as the way to salvation. In this book, Jaroslav Folda traces the appropriation of this image by thirteenth-century Crusader and central Italian painters, where the Virgin Mary is transformed from the human mother of god, the Theotokos, of Byzantine icons, to the resplendent Madonna radiant in her heavenly home with Christ and the angels. This transformation, Folda demonstrates, was brought about by using chrysography, or golden highlighting, which came to be used on both the Virgin and Child. This book shows the important role played by Crusader painters in bringing about this shift and in disseminating the new imagery to Central Italy. By focusing on the Virgin and Child Hodegetria, Folda reveals complex artistic interchanges and influences extending across the Mediterranean from Byzantium and the Holy Land to Italy.

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