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Mithraic Iconography in Hispania

Reinterpretation of the Catalogue and New Findings

Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: Claudina Romero Mayorga

Summary

This proposal aims to provide an update of the catalogues of findings associated with the mysteries of Mithras in Hispania produced by García y Bellido (1967) and Alvar Ezquerra (1981). A new approach to the archaeological material is needed due to the multiplicity of findings in recent decades and the overcoming of traditional theories in this field of study. We have focused on the figurative monuments, as Mithraic iconography has been considered a mere vehicle for the transmission of the eschatology of the cult.

Although three representations of tauroctony were located in the province of Baetica, the findings of Tróia and Mérida, both in Lusitania, are the most important source of materials in the territory of Hispania. Recent discoveries in Lugo, Altafulla, Cabrera de Mar, Puente Genil, San Juan de la Isla, Barbate, Mérida, along with the revision of the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano collection, have been a great contribution to the study of Mithraism in the Iberian Peninsula.

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The iconography of the Pool of Bethesda is studied in this paper, mainly on the basis of the Budapest painting, attributed to Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot.

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The point of departure for the present investigation are three technical pecularities of the “corona graeca”that make it difficult to be interpreted either as a genuine Byzantine, or a Western artefact. The iconography of two triple groups of images on the crown corresponds to “Romano-Bytantin”ideas of the “Renovation”of imperial power, adapted also by the Ottonians. The original crown could be made for a Byzantine empress of the 11th century and adapted for King Géza of Hungary by addition of his enamel plaque.

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This paper discusses the Mithraic reliefs found in Etruria (Regio VII). The reliefs are analysed and their iconographic, archaeological and chronological features compared with a view to advancing new proposals on the cult of Mithras in the area concerned. The paper focuses first on the new Mithraic relief discovered in Veii and discusses the presence of a specific object that constitutes the most original iconographic feature of the relief. It can be seen aligned behind Mithras' head, which obscures its central part: considering its shape and the presence of the quiver over Mithras' right shoulder, the object can be identified as a bow. The object's specific position, probably connected to the symbolic importance of the bow in the mysteries of Mithras, is unique not only among Mithraic reliefs but also in the surviving Mithraic evidence from the Roman world. The other reliefs from Etruria are analysed, with a brief description of the type of iconography, the chronology and archaeological context of each piece. Comparing the reliefs allows us to pinpoint differences in size, style and chronology, highlighting the uniqueness of the new relief from Veii. These differences can be put down to factors that are yet to be examined in more detail, connected to the clients and the workshops operating in the region. The study concludes that the Veii relief can be considered not only the oldest and most stylistically refined of these pieces, but also one of the earliest attestations of the cult of Mithras in Etruria.

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This study aims to revisit the creation of opera, symphonic versions of opera and ballet (yangbanxi) during the period of the Cultural Revolution of Mao's China. Beginning with the Kwok Collection (Fundação Oriente, Portugal), I aim to establish a new vision of the yangbanxi (production and reception) by means of an analysis of sources with musical iconography. The focus of the study is on questions of gender and the way in which the feminine was an indispensable tool for the construction and dissemination of the idea of a new nation-state. This study thus aims to make a new contribution to the area, showing how the construction of new opera heroines, communist and of the proletariat, is built on the image of the first “heroine-villain” constructed by the regime, Jiang Qing, the fourth wife of Mao Zedong. The title chosen demonstrates the paradox of the importance of woman in opera and in politics at a time when the only image to be left to posterity was that of a dominant male hero, Mao Zedong.

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The present article offers new evidence on the Unger playing-card making family of Győr, Western Transdanubia, as the result of a cross-disciplinary study. Mátyás Unger the Elder (1789–1862) and his like-named son Mátyás the Younger (1824–1878) produced various types of playing-cards from the early to mid-19th century. In particular, their cards, their iconography, design and production process will be analysed. The family is best known for their cards with Sopron (Oedenburg) pattern. Also discussed will be the role of Mátyás the Elder’s second eldest son Alajos Unger as a possible designer of the later Unger cards, which were of considerably higher quality than the earlier known ones by Mátyás Unger the Elder. The hitherto little-known Alajos Unger was trained as a draughtsman and painter first at the National Drawing School of his hometown and then, between 1833 and 1842, at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, particularly under Leopold Kupelwieser (1796–1862). Finally an innovative outside-in bottom-up method for gaining further, reliable insight into 19th century artisanal playing-card manufacturing will be proposed to determine the size, output and profitability of the Unger workshop based on material-flow simulation.

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This article is devoted to the coinage of Western Turkic Qaghanate (568–740) in the Chach (Tashkent) region and the influence of Byzantine monetary traditions on their formation. Bearing on the newly discovered numismatic material the authors tried to throw light on the stages of coinage of the Western Turkic Qaghanate and elucidate the brief history of their relations with the Byzantine Empire. The Western Turkic rulers minted their own coins (with the titles of żpγw ‘Yabghu’, cpγw x′γ′n ‘Yabghu-qaghan’, the ethnopolitical name of twrk x′γ′n ‘Türk-Qaghan’ and with the rulers’ names of trδw x′γ′n ‘Tardu qaghan’, twn cpγw x′γ′n ‘Tun Yabghu-qaghan’, all in the Sogdian script) in the Chach region and these coins were symbols of the independence of the Western Turkic Qaghanate. On the coins the following three variants of an original tamga can be seen: . The difference in the shape of the tamgas, in our opinion, is connected with the three stages of the formation of the Western Turkic Qaghanate. Stage 1: the Western Qaghanate is a wing or peripheral state within the Turkic Qaghanate under the rule of a Yabghu (the title Yabghu appears on the coins as ); stage 2: during the period when it was related nominally to the Turkic Qaghanate, in the period of the Yabghu-Qaghanate (the title Yabghu-qaghan on the coins is ); stage 3: from 630 onward, after the defeat of the Eastern Turkic Qaghanate by Tang China, the Western Turkic Qaghanate existed for a certain time as an independent state (the title Qaghan on the coins is ).

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The study is focused on an oil sketch by Maulbertsch (St. Stephen offering his crown to the Blessed Virgin, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest) and comes to the statement that it was made as a preparatory painting for the High Altar image in the village church in Écs (near to Győr) between 1772–74 as Maulbertsch and his workshop were working on the frescoes and altars of Győr Cathedral. Its commissioner was one of the Győr canons, Christoph Schogg, as a Provost of Pápóc, Patron of the Parish Church in Écs. He belonged to the same circle as Canon János Szily, main organizer of the Baroque decoration of Győr Cathedral (and lifelong patron of Maulbertsch), and Canon Gabriel Schmidt, who commissioned the two lead-relief retables by J.G. Molinarolo. The retable of Écs and the side altar retables of Győr Cathedral have the same artistic character, and therefore they are treated together from the viewpoint of the circle of the patrons, of iconography and of the practice of Maulbertsch's workshop as well. The Author helds the sketch for St. Stephen's altar as a work by the hands of Maulbertsch himself, while the retable in Écs and the side retables in Győr Cathedral were made in his workshop. They represent various qualities and artistic methods as well: an authentich oil sketch, re-use of a preparatory drawing made for another place, the use of a painted model (Vincenzo Damini, Vienna) or of a print (Carlo Maratta). Maulberts's own paraphrase inspired by an old retable of Győr Cathedral (The Stoning of St. Stephen by Benjamin Block 1659) shows that not only he influenced the art of regions of his activity, but he also received influences of works he met on places where he worked.

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The guiding idea of my article is to see the mythical and political ideology conveyed by the western side of the Ara Pacis Augustae in a (hopefully) new light. The Augustan ideology of power is in the modest opinion of the author intimately intertwined with the myths and legends concerning the Primordia Romae. Augustus strove very hard to be seen by his contemporaries as the Novus Romulus and as the providential leader (fatalis dux, an expression loved by Augustan poetry) under the protection of the traditional Roman gods and especially of Apollo, the Greek god who has been early on adopted (and adapted) by Roman mythology and religion.

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By the time of his death in 1827, the image of Beethoven as we recognise him today was firmly fixed in the minds of his contemporaries, and the career of Liszt was beginning to flower into that of the virtuosic performer he would be recognised as by the end of the 1830s. By analysing the seminal artwork Liszt at the Piano of 1840 by Josef Danhauser, we can see how a seemingly unremarkable head-and-shoulders bust of Beethoven in fact holds the key to unlocking the layers of commentary on both Liszt and Beethoven beneath the surface of the image. Taking the analysis by Alessandra Comini as a starting point, this paper will look deeper into the subtle connections discernible between the protagonists of the picture. These reveal how the collective identities of the artist and his painted assembly contribute directly to Beethoven’s already iconic status within music history around 1840 and reflect the reception of Liszt at this time. Set against the background of Romanticism predominant in the social and cultural contexts of the mid 1800s, it becomes apparent that it is no longer enough to look at a picture of a composer or performer in isolation to understand its impact on the construction of an overall identity. Each image must be viewed in relation to those that preceded and came after it to gain the maximum benefit from what it can tell us.

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