Artibus et Historiae no. 5 (III)

1982, ISSN 0391-9064

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HERBERT R. BRODERICK - Some Attitudes Toward the Frame in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries

From Hiberno-Saxon manuscript art of the 7th and 8th centuries later Anglo-Saxon artists retained and developed certain idiosyncratic attitudes toward the frame, among which are the following: first, a sense of the equivalency of figure and frame, with forms in the field often touching or crossing the frame; and second, specific systems of aesthetic ordering within the frame itself, such as a predilection for chiastic relationships of color and ornament. In addition, Anglo-Saxon artists developed several concepts that had appeared sporadically in art since the Late Antique such as the inhabited frame, the frame as a sequential ordering device in narrative illustration, and the frame as an expressive element in itself rather than simply an inert boundary or border. These attitudes represent an especially important and vital link between the earlier Insular aesthetic and the fully developed High Romanesque and Gothic.

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