ARAN - Access to Research at NUI Galway

Representations of the Virgin Mary on Irish High Crosses: Icons, Narratives and Symbols of Power

ARAN - Access to Research at NUI Galway

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dc.contributor.advisor Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí
dc.contributor.author Humphrey, Hayley
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-23T17:45:28Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-23T17:45:28Z
dc.date.issued 2011-09-29
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10379/2943
dc.description.abstract Representations of the Virgin Mary on the Irish high crosses form two distinct categories: iconic Virgin and Child panels, and narrative Infancy of Christ scenes. This study begins with an iconographic analysis of the extant Marian scenes, providing new identifications for previously unidentified panels, and determining the relationship between the Iona-group and the Irish icons. This study synthesizes the visual and historical evidence to determine the motivations behind the typological shift that occurs from iconic to narrative Marian scenes, and to determine whether the presence or absence of the Virgin symbol is representative of the political and ideological beliefs of a particular monastic paruchia. This methodological framework allows for the development of Marian symbolism in Ireland to be linked with similar developments in continental Marian imagery, particularly in Rome, where the symbol was rife with political subtext and was used as a direct response to Byzantine iconoclasm. While the papacy responded to the first phase of iconoclasm with the iconic Maria Regina-type, during the period of Second Iconoclasm, the Virgin was placed into narrative Infancy panels; this typological shift mirrors the shift that occurred in Ireland. In addition to political and ideological influences from the continent, the effects of contemporary political developments within Ireland are analysed. The appearance of narrative Infancy scenes on crosses associated with the paruchia of Patrick, and the absence of the symbol on crosses associated with the paruchia of Columba, suggests that the typological shift may have been caused by a political shift, as the favourable position enjoyed by the Columbans began to decline in the early decades of the ninth century, and the Patricians reasserted their bid for primacy. Rather than a strictly theological message, the Patrician takeover of the Marian symbol suggests that images of the Virgin Mary on the high crosses were representative of political power and authority. en_US
dc.subject Irish high crosses en_US
dc.subject Iconography en_US
dc.subject Infancy narratives en_US
dc.subject Marian icons en_US
dc.subject Paruchia en_US
dc.subject Iconoclasm en_US
dc.title Representations of the Virgin Mary on Irish High Crosses: Icons, Narratives and Symbols of Power en_US
dc.type PhD Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.funder NUI Galway Doctoral Research Fellowship en_US
dc.local.note This study has analysed the development of Marian iconography on the Irish high crosses in order to identify a typological shift from iconic to narrative images, establish a connection with contemporary Marian iconography in Rome, and determine whether Marian scenes are representative of the political and ideological beliefs of monastic paruchiae. en_US
dc.local.final Yes en_US

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