Posts Tagged ‘Isidore of Seville’

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Elegant Geometry

Byrhtferth’s Diagram; Computus Diagrams

Above: Byrhtferth’s Diagram; Computus Diagrams (detail), from the Thorney Computus, Cambridgeshire, England, ca. 1102–10, Saint John’s College, Oxford, MS 17.

I have long been fascinated by medieval diagrams. Even before this exhibition provided the opportunity to unpack their often arcane content, I appreciated their elegant geometry. Although the systems of thought and basic formats of these diagrams often come from antiquity, I like to think their aesthetic potential was only fully realized by medieval thinkers and draftsmen. Read more »

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Writing History

The Compendium of History through the Genealogy of Christ

Above: The Compendium of History through the Genealogy of Christ (detail). Peter of Poitiers. England, 13th century. Anonymous Lender.

Many histories written in the Middle Ages include the hand of God in the workings of historical events. Certainly a Compendium roll shown in the exhibition (see detail above) and another at The Cloisters fit this model. The history of the world it presents is organized around what its Christian author would have considered the inevitable and culminating event of the birth of Christ. Read more »