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The Assimilation of Byzantine Art in Western Art of the Late Twelfth Century

Konstantina Karterouli, Harvard University, William Tyler Fellow 2011–2013

As a Tyler Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, I divided my time between the museum’s collections of coins and manuscripts and my dissertation for the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. I researched the iconography and the format of a stone relief sculpture produced in the late twelfth-century Moselle representing the Virgin and Child, and especially its relationship with Byzantine art. As a result of this study, I developed a framework for understanding the function of Byzantine iconography of the Virgin and Child in this piece and comparable works. The study also addresses the interrelations of style, function, theology, iconography, and the relationship of the relief to other media and genres. This analysis aims to refine knowledge on the process of the transalpine adoption of Byzantine art, especially in regard to the visual expression of Western theological and devotional objectives. A central question in my examination is the role of Italy in this transmission.