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4. Time and Temporality in Medieval Art

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the question: did medieval models contribute to the creation of a Renaissance iconography of Time? By studying relevant artistic developments in late medieval art. Medieval cosmic diagrams, evoking the relationship between a cosmic personification or deity and the universal dimensions of time and space, demonstrate initial efforts to organize Christian ideas of temporal domination, duration and periodicity within a comprehensive universal structure. Personifications were dispensed with in the series of rotae diagrams illustrating Isidore of Seville's De natura rerum, and inscriptions were used for the subdivisions to illustrate complex temporal and spatial concordances. An early innovation with far reaching implications is the schematic illustration to Isidore's chapter De Annus, where the center of the circular diagram is simply inscribed ANNUS in large capital letters, with seasons, humors and cardinal directions inscribed in the peripheral geometric design.

Keywords: Christian ideas; De Annus; De natura rerum; Medieval cosmic diagrams; Renaissance iconography; time



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